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Obama’s chance to bounce back

at 06:30 AM ET, 09/15/2011

It hasn’t been a good month for President Obama, but beneath it all, the American people are still ready to hear him out when it comes to his jobs plan.

And in fact, at first glance, they seem to like it.

Two new polls show more Americans like the president’s jobs plan than dislike it. A CNN/Opinion Research poll shows 43 percent favor Obama’s jobs plan, while 35 percent oppose it. And Gallup shows an even wider gap, with 45 percent in favor and 32 percent opposed.

With less than majority support, it’s hardly a resounding affirmation of the president’s policies, and much has yet to play out. But the numbers do show that the American people haven’t written off the president’s economic ideas, even as the economy has tanked.

In fact, multiple data points suggest the president could have the upper hand to start out with.

The CNN poll shows more people trust Obama (46 percent) than Republicans (37 percent) to deal with the economy. And it also shows Americans think job creation (65 percent) is more pressing than cutting the deficit (29 percent).

A Bloomberg poll also shows people prioritize “unemployment and jobs” (46 percent) over government spending (18 percent) and the deficit (12 percent).

Meanwhile, as Greg Sargent notes, the poll guts in the CNN survey show many of the proposals the president has mentioned polling as broadly popular, including among independents.

Now, those numbers don’t tell the whole story — the choice isn’t quite that simple when it comes to jobs vs. the budget — but they do suggest an American public that could jump back on board with the president.

The GOP still isn’t held in as high a regard on the economy, and it appears more focused on an issue — the budget — that voters say is a lower priority. Obama, by contrast, is the one people trust more, and his White House has been focused like a laser on the people’s clear top priority, jobs, for a while now.

“The longer the debate about budget priorities goes on — between tax breaks for the rich or investing in job creation — the better it is for Democrats,” said one Democratic strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly.

Republicans, meanwhile, point out that even many Democratic members of Congress have been hesitant to jump on board with the president’s plan. And the CNN polls shows Obama’s ideas are popular on their surface, the devil is always in the details when it comes to this stuff.

As soon as Americans start hearing about the cost of this or that program that they don’t like, they may turn against the plan.

“They appreciate the effort, but when they discover the parts of it that will have a harmful effect on jobs and the economy, they will be opposed just as they are to most of his policies,” said a GOP strategist.

It’s still very early, and right now perceptions are based more on what Obama has said and on the concept of a jobs plan than on a full airing of the bill.

But for a president who isn’t exactly riding high, he’s at least got an opportunity to win this battle.

Rollins calls Bachmann’s HPV comment a ‘mistake’: Ed Rollins, who recently stepped back from his role as campaign manager for Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign, says she made a mistake when she linked the HPV vaccine that Texas Gov. Rick Perry mandated to “mental retardation” after Monday’s debate.

“She made a mistake. The quicker she admits she made a mistake and moves on, the better she is,” Rollins said in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday.

Needless to say, having your aides prosecute your conduct in public isn’t terribly helpful.

Romney praises Cheney: Despite his book tour, Republicans aren’t exactly lining up to stand alongside former Dick Cheney these days.

But former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney had some kind words for the former vice president Wednesday in Arizona, saying he would like to have someone like Cheney if he’s president.

“I listened to him speak and said, whether you agree or disagree with him, this a man of wisdom and judgement, and he could have been President of the United States,” Romney said. “That’s the kind of person I’d like to have — a person of wisdom and judgement.”

Fixbits:

Freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is being asked to prove that he doesn’t owe back child support.

Perry hits Bachmann for her HPV comments and keeps going after Romney’s jobs numbers.

Why the Nevada special election was also bad for Democrats.

Bachmann dines with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his wife Cindy.

Linda McMahon will launch her repeat Senate bid in Connecticut next week.

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman defends his Kurt Cobain joke.

Must-reads:

Obama allies: Time to wake up” — Beth Reinhard, National Journal

After losing special election in New York, Democrats look toward 2012” — Paul Kane and Felicia Sonmez, Washington Post

After Choosing Candidate Who Lost, a Democrat Stands in an Unfavorable Light” — David W. Chen, New York Times

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