Resurgent Republic Survey: Strong Majority Says Obama 'Weaker Leader' Than Expected

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Latest Survey Examined Views on Obama’s Job Performance, Debt Ceiling, S&P Downgrade and the “Super Committee”

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“By almost every measure, President Obama is in real jeopardy as he speaks to a joint session of Congress on jobs,” said Ed Gillespie, Resurgent Republic Board Member. “Intensity is very much on the side of those who view President Obama unfavorably."

Sixty percent of voters – and 65 percent of Independents – think President Barack Obama has turned out to be a weaker leader than they expected, according to a newly released national survey from Resurgent Republic. Half of those surveyed – and 57 percent of Independents – say the President’s policies have made things worse for most Americans. In addition, two-thirds of voters believe the country is on the wrong track.

The national survey of 1000 registered voters, conducted August 28-31, 2011, also showed that 57 percent disapprove of the President’s handling of the economy and 52 percent think it is time to give someone else a chance to be President.

“By almost every measure, President Obama is in real jeopardy as he speaks to a joint session of Congress on jobs,” said Ed Gillespie, Resurgent Republic Board Member. “Intensity is very much on the side of those who view President Obama unfavorably, and barring a dramatic turnaround in the economy, he is very vulnerable to defeat next year.”

Regarding the recent Standard and Poor’s downgrade that followed the debt ceiling debate, by a margin of 46 to 38 percent, voters think raising the debt ceiling in exchange for substantial spending cuts was a bad rather than a good thing. Democrats think it was a good thing by a 51 to 31 percent margin, Republicans think it was a bad thing by a 66 to 25 percent margin, and Independents are split with 45 percent saying it was a bad thing and 40 percent saying it was a good thing.

Democrats blame Republicans for the S&P downgrade, Republicans blame Democrats, and Independents blame everyone. Three-fourths of American voters think the downgrade is a very (40 percent) or somewhat (38 percent) serious problem for the country's financial situation. Voters split their assignment of blame between Republican-aligned groups (21 percent Republicans in Congress and 9 percent Tea Party) and Democratic groups (16 percent Democrats in Congress and 12 percent President Obama). Independents split blame almost evenly between all or a combination (26 percent), Republican groups (17 percent Republicans in Congress and 8 percent Tea Party), and Democrats (16 percent Democrats in Congress and 8 percent President Obama).

“Given these patterns, the problem appears to be a concern about raising the debt ceiling itself rather than concern about spending cuts,” said Whit Ayres, Resurgent Republic Board Member. “The more serious a problem voters think the S&P credit downgrade is for the country, the more likely they are to believe that raising the credit limit was a bad thing.”

Far more Americans are concerned that the “super committee” charged with getting the country’s fiscal house in order will make too few rather than too many spending cuts. Large majorities of Republicans and Independents worry that the committee will cut too little (72 to 19 percent among Republicans and 55 to 31 percent among Independents); only Democrats are worried that it will cut too much (56 to 31 percent).

Independents think more like Democrats than Republicans on the need for new revenue as part of the solution to the debt problem. Voters overall agree with language that emphasizes a "balanced approach" including eliminating "tax breaks and special deductions" by a 53 to 43 percent margin, including a 52 to 45 percent margin among Independents and a 76 to 20 percent margin among Democrats. Republicans prefer spending cuts alone by a 71 to 27 percent margin. However, Independents think more like Republicans than Democrats on the desirability of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. By a margin of 57 to 36 percent, voters overall think a balanced budget amendment is a good idea, with large majorities of Republicans and Independents supporting the idea (75/21 among Republicans and 59/33 among Independents). Only Democrats think it is a bad idea (53/39 percent).

More information from the survey, including top line results and the full memo, can be found at http://www.resurgentrepublic.com.

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