The Washington Post

Obama: Jack of the wrong trades?; poll spins message on jobs bill

Today’s top polls...

Obama: Jack of the wrong trades? Moammar Gaddafi’s death marks a foreign policy victory for President Obama, but as the latest AP/GfK poll demonstrates, Obama earns his highest marks as president on issues that rank among the least important to Americans. Almost six in 10 approve of the way Obama has handled relationships with other countries – well above his overall rating of 46 percent – but only 56 percent of the public rates the issue as “extremely” or “very important,” tying immigration for the lowest in the survey. By contrast, Obama’s approval rating drops to 40 percent on the economy, the deficit and unemployment – each are rated important by at least eight in 10 Americans.

Obama does beat his approval average on two key issues: education and terrorism. Fully 57 percent approve of Obama on education, which 86 percent say is important. And 64 percent rate Obama positively on terrorism, an issue that 73 percent call extremely or very important.

GOP “message” poll gives spin on jobs bill– Crossroads GPS, a Republican strategy group, released a poll Friday testing a slew of “messages” aimed at bolstering the arguments for those opposed to Obama's jobs bill. At root, the poll touches on a key fact also seen in other polls, namely, that public opinion on the jobs package is unsettled, so arguments (and question wording) matter. But the top "key message" is misleading. The memo claims "Opposition to Obama's plan is bipartisan," since large numbers "agree" with an odd, roundabout statement that "Since both Republicans and Democrats are concerned [about the bill], this probably is not a good economic plan." More than eight Democrats in 10 supported the jobs package in a  Washington Post-ABC News poll earlier this month.

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Scott Clement is a survey research analyst for The Washington Post. Scott specializes in public opinion about politics, election campaigns and public policy.


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