— More say economy in permanent decline - In another sign of abject pessimism about the U.S. economy, almost four in 10 Americans in a new CBS/NYT poll say the economic downturn is permanent, up 11 percentage points from October. When asked who is most to blame for the current state of the economy, a quarter each blames the George W. Bush (26 percent) and Wall Street (25 percent), while 11 percent point the finger at Congress and 8 percent at Barack Obama.
— Rick Perry on the rise - New polls from Marist College-McClatchy and Fox News show Texas Gov. Rick Perry garnering double-digit support in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Fully 13 percent in both surveys pick Perry as their preferred candidate. Michele Bachmann, who formally announced her candidacy this week, is also on the move in the two polls. Mitt Romney remains the leader in both.
— Congressional Republicans (and Democrats) not popular - Obama’s newly combative tone with congressional Republicans at Wednesday’s news conference may resonate with the public at large: 68 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling their job, according to a June AP-GFK poll. Ratings for congressional Democrats are only slightly higher, with neither side approaching Obama’s 52 percent mark in that survey. Still, 35 percent or fewer approve of Obama, congressional Republicans or congressional Democrats when it comes to handling the federal budget deficit.
— Virginia splits on Obama reelection - Some 47 percent of registered voters in the commonwealth say Obama deserves to be reelected, while an identical number say he doesn’t, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Despite the divide on reelection, almost three quarters say they like Obama personally, including majorities of Republicans, conservatives and white evangelical Christians. Virginians also split in a potential Senate matchup between former governors Tim Kaine and George Allen, each getting 42 percent.