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Americans Still Give GOP Mixed Marks Despite Big Gains in the Midterms

3 years ago
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While the Republicans gave the Democrats what President Obama acknowledged was a "shellacking" in the midterm elections, Americans favor Obama slightly more on whom they trust to cope with the main problems facing the nation and are split on the question of whether the White House or congressional Republicans are playing a stronger leadership role in the aftermath of the elections, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted Dec. 9-12. (Story; Poll data)

Forty-three percent say they trust Obama more than the Republicans to "do a better job coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years," while 38 percent put their faith in the Republicans. Twelve percent trust neither, 2 percent say they trust both and 4 percent are undecided. The margin of error is 3.5 points.

Forty-three percent say Obama is "taking a stronger leadership role in the government in Washington these days," and 42 percent believe it is the Republicans, with 3 percent answering "both," 8 percent saying neither, and 4 percent undecided.

CongressAs far as the shift of control of the House from the Democrats to the GOP, 41 percent regard it as a good thing, 27 percent say it is a bad thing and 30 percent don't think it makes any difference. Three percent were undecided.

Those surveyed appear to see Obama as the more reasonable player in Washington when it comes to willingness to compromise on important issues. Forty-five percent say Obama's willingness to compromise is "about the right amount," while 40 percent say it is too little, 11 percent deem it as too much, with 4 percent undecided. Fifty-four percent say Republicans are doing too little to compromise compared to 32 percent who feel it is the right amount, with 8 percent saying "too much" and 7 percent undecided.

Just as the public splits on the question of whether Obama or congressional Republicans are taking the stronger leadership role, Americans are divided on whom they trust to do a better job handling what just about every poll says is the major issue in the country -- the economy. Forty-five percent trust the GOP more, compared to 44 percent who prefer Obama, with 2 percent saying they trust both, 7 percent trusting neither and 2 percent undecided. Forty-four percent trust the Republicans more on taxes, compared to 43 percent who are more confident in Obama, with the rest undecided or answering "both" or "neither."

However, when it comes to the issue of the federal deficit, Americans trust the Republicans over Obama by a 47 percent to 39 percent margin. And, on helping the middle class, Obama prevails over the Republicans as far as trust on the issue by 53 percent to 38 percent. In both cases, the remainder are undecided or answered "both" or "neither."

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