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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 04/28/2009

Swine Flu: Is Obama Crisis Ready?

The outbreak of swine flu and the public alarm it has caused have brought on the first non-economic domestic crisis of President Obama's young tenure, and according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll out Sunday, the president inspires widespread trust among the public in his ability to handle a crisis.

The poll, conducted before the extent of swine flu cases in the United States became known, found nearly three-quarters said Obama can be trusted to handle a crisis, up slightly from just before his inauguration (69 percent). But as with many measures of Obama's first three months in office, opinions are sharply riven by party identification.

Obama's high marks are bolstered by near unanimous positive ratings from Democrats, 94 percent said he can be trusted to handle a crisis, and broad support among independents, 69 percent trust him. Among Republicans, just 32 percent said Obama could be trusted in a crisis, 57 percent said he could not and 10 percent expressed no opinion.

At the same stage in George W. Bush's tenure, after facing a standoff with the Chinese over a downed U.S. plane but before the Sept. 11 attacks, 65 percent said he could be trusted to handle a crisis. Faith in Bush among his own partisans matches Obama's level among Democrats, 94 percent of Republicans said they trusted Bush, while Bush faired comparatively worse among independents (60 percent trusted him) while scoring higher marks than Obama from across the aisle (43 percent of Democrats trusted Bush).

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Q. Please tell me whether the following statement applies to ... or not: He can be trusted in a crisis? (% saying "yes")

Obama, April '09

Bush, April '01

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  06:00 AM ET, 04/28/2009

Categories:  Post Polls

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