Americans are feeling better and better about the economy, a new poll shows — a real shot in the arm for President Obama’s massive efforts to restore calm to the economy. But buried in the details of the recently released New York Times/CBS survey are signs that the White House may have trouble pushing through its ambitious and expensive agenda on health,
energy, and education.
Even while in the throes of a global financial crisis, Americans are in a statistical dead heat on whether to stimulate the economy by spending more money even if that means deepening the deficit (45%) or whether the Administration should focus on reducing the budget and the national debt (46%). Further, a whopping 63% of those participating in the poll said they were “very concerned” that the growing debt load would “create hardships for future generations of Americans.” Another 28% said they were “somewhat concerned” about leaving a legacy of debt. In other words, 91% of those polled aren’t comfortable with the ballooning national deficit, which the Congressional Budget Office projects will reach $9.3 trillion between 2010 and 2019, $2.3 trillion more than White House estimates.
The NYTimes didn’t quite pull together the implication of those numbers. The focus: Democrats are up, Republicans down, and an impressive two-thirds say they approve of President Obama’s job performance. It’s a Sally Field moment: After winning a second Oscar for her role in the 1984 movie Places in the Heart, the actress declared:”You like me, right now, you like me!”
Right now a sweeping majority really like Mr. Obama. But nearly half of those surveyed — 48% to be precise — said they would prefer smaller government with fewer services; 41% said they would prefer bigger government with more services. So even Obama can’t count on a sea of love to guarantee him an open-ended line of credit to fund his programs.. Americans are clearly divided over how to handle some of the biggest issues before this nation. Obama may soon find himself on the receiving end of the credit crunch if not a one-two punch to his standings if he doesn’t show greater concern for the national deficit. The administration should say “thank you” for the general vote of confidence but also take note that adulation for Oscar winners is fleeting. It tends to last right now and not much longer.