New poll numbers suggest that America is solidly behind Obama as he takes office — more so than previous presidents-elect. MSNBC’s First Read postulates that, as a result, Obama will be able to (1) withstand distractions like the Blagojevich situation without seeing his honeymoon coming to end, and (2) be more aggressive in his initial policy initiatives.
Obama is enjoying a bigger honeymoon than his recent predecessors ever did. Just consider these numbers in the latest NBC/WSJ poll: 67% say they’re pleased with Obama’s early appointments, 75% believe that the level of his involvement in making policy has been exactly right, and his fav/unfav rating is 67%-16%. By comparison, a month after their initial presidential victories, Bush’s rating was 48%-35% and Clinton’s was 60%-19%. These scores — combined with the fact that nearly 80% believe Obama will face bigger challenges than other recent presidents have, and 90% who say the nation’s economy has gotten worse over the past 12 months — seem to have given Obama some leeway with the American public. “We’re seeing a president who has been given a longer leash by the American public,” says NBC/WSJ co-pollster Bill McInturff (R). “This is not a traditional start of a presidency where people give you just a couple of months.” For Obama that means, potentially, he has the opportunity to throw the long ball in his first year in office, as well as withstand an early setback or two.