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.

    • VA Blogger

      That adds up to a potential 57% approval rating if Obama would push harder

      Eh, maybe. I’d argue its more likely that, as Obama moves to the left to pick up that 9%, he’d lose more of that 48%. It’s tough to just assume they’d approve of him unconditionally.

      The other thing to be careful of in national polls like these (not taken in the midst of an electoral cycle) is that this is a poll of national adults, not “likely voters” or even registered voters. While that makes perfect sense, and it has value because all adults are constituents of President Obama regardless of if they voted or who they voted for, “likely voters” are the political currency that drive strategic decisions.

    • Cool_Arrow

      Is that none of what you have said has any realistic chance of passing. Any dramatic action for clean energy/climate change and the public option are  dead. It was hard enough with our “super majorities” and now with the House in GOP control and 60 being the new 50 in the Senate getting major stuff done is going to be impossible. Immigration too likely is done as maybe  he can get through something small but I seriously doubt anything like comprehensive immigration reform or the Dream Act can pass now. Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t try but the House is in GOP hands and likely won’t be playing ball with him anytime for the next 2 years. They will probably care about holding votes about stripping the first gay American of his/her citizenship posthumously. He needs to focus on very small popular components of an issue like a bill for extra border security, a bill meant to crack down on employers hiring of undocumented workers and then a bill that would allow for a pathway to citizenship with respect to immigration.

    • It’s not so much what I think that Obama (and Democrats in general) will do or not do, but the tone they are taking is really getting on my nerves.

      My husband just chewed out some poor DPVA telemarketer because he gave his pitch about all of the terrible things that are going to happen to us, unless we ponied up money RIGHT NOW.  We live in a great country, with endless possibilities.  I’m tired to death of living in a culture of fear and shame and cowardice, and I don’t need Democrats playing along!

    • klaph

      There’s apparently about 35 to 40% or so of the people pollsters call who are just Fox News/Limbaugh/Palin/GOP foot soldiers. In this economy, there may be more of them, but basically these are the same rich people/deluded Christians who backed Bush, Rove and every other idiot who comes down the Republican pike. The real danger is that Republicans are desperately trying to grow them, while we have to convert them.