Six out of 10 Americans hope that President Obama's policies will succeed -- a percentage that has dropped measurably from last year -- but the public is roughly split when it comes to whether they think those policies will in fact be successful, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll
conducted Dec. 17-20.
Sixty-one percent want Obama's program to succeed while 27 percent hope his policies fail. Nine percent have mixed feelings and 3 percent have no opinion. Last December, 71 percent hoped Obama's policies would succeed compared to 22 percent who wanted them to fail. In March 2009, 86 percent wanted those policies to succeed and 11 percent hoped they would fail. The remainder had mixed opinions.
When it comes to what Americans believe will happen (putting aside whether or not they want Obama's policies to succeed), 47 percent predict failure while 44 percent say they will succeed. Six percent have mixed opinions and 2 percent are undecided.
CNN polling director Keating Holland called the 61 percent who are in Obama's corner "a fairly robust number" but singled out as significant the size of the drop-off in the number of those hoping for his success as well as the fact that a plurality predicts his policies will likely fail.
(A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
conducted Dec. 9-13 said 64 percent were only somewhat confident or not at all confident that Obama had the right set of goals and policies to be president, while 36 percent were quite or extremely confident.)
The CNN poll said that one factor working in Obama's favor is that whether Americans approve of the job he is doing or not, 73 percent approve of the president as a person.
Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said it was good for the country that the GOP had taken control of the House while 42 percent said it was bad, with 4 percent answering "neither" and 2 percent undecided.
However, when it comes to whether the public thinks the Republicans will do a better job of running the House, 52 percent said it will make no difference while 26 percent said they'd do a better job and 22 percent predicted they'd do a worse job.
Congressional Democrats appear to have become a non-factor in the minds of Americans on the question of who would do the best job dealing with the issues facing the country.
Forty percent believed the Republicans would do the best job, 35 percent put their confidence in Obama and only 15 percent in the Democrats on Capitol Hill. Two percent answered "all equally" and 7 percent said none of them would.
The CNN result on who would handle best the country's issues was a little different than the same result in a Washington Post/ABC News poll
conducted Dec. 9-12, which found 43 percent saying they trusted 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 trusted neither, 2 percent said they trusted both and 4 percent were undecided. The margin of error was 3.5 points.
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