CNN Poll: Only 38% Disapprove of Obama Because He’s “Too Liberal”

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    Fascinating poll results from CNN. In particular, I enjoyed the question about whether or not you approve of President Obama’s job performance, and if you disapprove, whether it’s because he’s “too liberal” or “not liberal enough.”

    The results: 48% approve of Obama, 38% disapprove of Obama because he’s “too liberal,” 9% disapprove of Obama because he’s “not liberal enough”, and 3% disapprove but aren’t sure whether it’s because he’s “too liberal” or “not liberal enough.” The bottom line here is that only 38% of Americans disapprove of Obama because he’s “too liberal.” There’s also the 3% who aren’t sure why they disapprove of Obama. On the other side are 48% who approve of Obama and 9% who disapprove because he’s “not liberal enough.” That adds up to a potential 57% approval rating if Obama would push harder for things like the public option, clean energy and climate legislation, the end of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” card check, immigration reform, etc.

    So, given these poll results – not to mention what constitutes good public policy – which direction should Obama move at this point, left or right? Based on these poll numbers, it doesn’t appear that moving right will help him much in the polls, while moving left could pick up some support and put him nicely over 50%. Which makes it all the more puzzling to see Obama apparently tilting towards the right, as opposed to fighting the Republicans and standing up for Democratic, “liberal,” and/or “progressive” ideals. Weird.

    P.S. Another interesting finding of this poll is that the Republican Party continues to be slightly less popular than the Democratic Party (46%-48% for Democrats, 43%-48% for Republicans). Also, only 17% of Americans believe the recent elections were a “mandate for Republicans.” So, again, what do Democrats lose by sticking to their guns on health care, clean energy and environment, etc?

    UPDATE: Jed Lewison at Daily Kos sees it the same way.