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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 08:48 AM ET, 11/07/2011

The Morning Plum

* Half of Americans believe GOP is sabotaging Obama’s jobs policies for political reasons:

As I and others have noted, a great deal is riding on whether the American people come to believe the provocative idea — pushed hard by Dems in recent days — that Republicans are deliberately sabotaging the recovery to make it easier to recapture the White House. A recent Florida poll found that nearly half of Floridians believe this — perhaps the first to measure sentiment along these lines.

Now the new Post poll has asked a question that comes very close to measuring this sentiment on a national level — and it finds that half of Americans think Republicans are blocking Obama’s good faith efforts to fix the economy for political reasons:

Which of the following statements comes closest to your point of view? Statement A: (President Obama is making a good faith effort to deal with the country’s economic problems, but the Republicans in Congress are playing politics by blocking his proposals and programs.) Or Statement B: (President Obama has not provided leadership on the economy, and he is just blaming the Republicans in Congress as an excuse for not doing his job.)
Obama making a good effort 50
Obama has not provided leadership 44

This isn’t quite the same as asking whether Republicans are deliberately sabotaging the economy in service of the explicit goal of winning the White House. The above question only asks whether Republicans are “playing politics” by blocking Obama’s policies, and doesn’t measure whether people think they would work if enacted. But the finding does show that half of Americans think one party is acting in good faith to fix the economy, and the other isn’t.

Meanwhile, fewer Americans (44 percent) buy the Republican line (see McConnell, Mitch) that Obama is only calling out Republican obstructionism in order to deflect blame for his failures.

By the way, there’s no evidence in the poll that this helps Obama at all. Obama remains tied with Republicans on who is more trusted to handle the economy (42-42) or to create jobs (40-40). They are roughly tied (32-35) when Americans are asked who they blame for their dissatisfaction or anger.

And get this: The number who see Obama as a strong leader is now upside down (48-51), suggesting yet again that even if Americans understand that Republicans are deliberately blocking Obama’s policies, they may conclude that his failure to get around them just shows he’s weak or ineffectual. Go back and check out this independent voter’s reaction to the current situation and ask yourself whether this may be a widespread phenomenon.

* Ohio labor fight a dress rehersal for 2012: Justin Elliott has a nice overview of the significance of tomorrow’s big Ohio labor vote, and makes the critical point that the massive ground network that labor and progressives have built in this key state can easily be pressed into service for Obama in 2012.

* Richard Trumka headed to Ohio, and the stakes are high: The AFL-CIO announced this morning that Trumka is heading to the state in hopes of personally rallying the troops to a big victory, another reminder that labor views this win as absolutely critical in challenging the conventional narrative that the setback in Wisconsin shows that unions are on the defensive everywhere.

* Obama still has a route to reelection: Obama faces perhaps the worst political environment in modern memory, but Chris Cillizza demonstrates with a state-by-state analysis that there are still several routes to 270 electoral votes.

* Obama may get bailed out by GOP’s awful brand: Relatedly Steve Kornacki offers four ways Obama can still survive. Most notable, in the event that the economy doesn’t improve and the GOP doesn’t commit suicide in the primary: “GOP brand poisoning.”

* Obama’s “class warfare” isn’t exactly hurting Wall Street: Zachary Goldfarb offers some stats that make the complaints of poor, put upon Wall Street execs ring awfully hollow:

The largest banks are larger than they were when Obama took office and are nearing the level of profits they were making before the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, according to government data. Wall Street firms — independent companies and the securities-trading arms of banks — are doing even better. They earned more in the first 21 / 2 years of the Obama administration than they did during the eight years of the George W. Bush administration, industry data show.

* Mitt Romney, man of the people? Maybe not so much: An amusing encounter between an aloof Mitt Romney and voters who tried but failed to get him to engage with them. One can imagine the nonstop mockery such an encounter would provoke from writers like Maureen Dowd, had the candidate been a “wooden” Democrat like John Kerry or Al Gore...

* Yes, Romney’s health plan is a problem among GOPers: It’s widely argued that Romney has successfully put his “Romneycare” problem behind him, but the new Post poll finds that 48 percent of Republicans say they are less likely to vote for him because of it, versus only 41 percent who say it’ll make no difference.

* But Romney is still the presumed favorite: A smart point about the poll from Jon Cohen and Dan Balz: “He is the first or second choice of more than four in 10, higher than any other candidate.”

* Endorsement of the day: The Weekly Standard enthuses that for the first time, Romney is finally sounding “like a Tea Party candidate,” which presumably was meant as a compliment.

* Is Congress really “working”? Boehner thinks so: John Boehner, in an ABC News interview, offered some curious pushback to criticism of Congress’s failure to pass jobs measures and of the vote to reaffirm “In God We Trust,” insisting that Congress “is working” and that its members are “trying to do the right thing for the American people every single day.”

Hard to square that with Congress’s single-digit approval rating, though. Also, as Steve Benen keeps tirelessly pointing out, what we’re really seeing here is that the expectations for Congress have sunk almost laughably low.

* And get ready for a wild, wild ride: Political analysts say that control of both the House and Senate are up for grabs, and this quote from Dem Rep. Peter DeFazio captures what’s ahead:

“This will be one of the most unpredictable and volatile elections in the history of the United States.”

Only a year to go! What else is happening?

By  |  08:48 AM ET, 11/07/2011

 
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