A Closer Look at Obama’s ‘First 100 Days’

Published: May 6, 2009

By Jim Lichtman
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Digging deeper into the results of the Walter H. Capps Center’s “First 100 Days” poll some interesting figures stand out.

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, our poll is different from other “100 Days” surveys in that the majority of the questions were based on those qualities and issues Americans told us were most important to them last November:  honesty, integrity, leadership, intelligence, transparency; the economy, war in Iraq, taxes and health care reform.

When we compare ratings of Obama and Congress in the area of honesty, there is a decided shift from the negative 75% grade that Congress received to a positive mark of 58% for President Obama.  Looking at integrity, Congress received even lower negatives at 77% to Mr. Obama’s positive mark of 58%.

And when we examine transparency, one of the top five qualities Americans said were important in the next president, Obama scores a positive grade of 50% to an 80% negative grade for Congress.

Looking at the results of Obama and honesty more closely, we find that while 59% of Republicans rated him “poor,” 55% of Independents gave Mr. Obama positive numbers.  Looking at Congress in the area of honesty, Independents gave them a negative mark of 84%.

When it comes to transparency, 89% of Independents gave Congress negative marks, compared to 43% positive numbers for Mr. Obama.

Clearly, Independent voters believe Mr. Obama is more trustworthy than both Congressional Democrats and Republicans.

One of the most striking grades for Obama comes in the area of intelligence.  While 78% of Independents gave him a positive grade, 53% of Republicans graded him positive, as well.  Mr. Obama received an overall positive grade of 77% in the area of intelligence.

The fact that Mr. Obama draws over 70% positive numbers on intelligence shows crossover support from the GOP.  This, according to pollster John Zogby, is helping those voters who are on the fence to still give Mr. Obama the benefit of the doubt on issues they may not support.

Finally, when it comes to “restoring trust in government,” another critical issue often discussed, Mr. Obama scores 50% of positive numbers compared to 81% negative numbers for Congress.

Of the twenty-two questions asked regarding Mr. Obama’s “First 100 Days,” the only areas in which he received negative numbers came in the issues of uniting the country and “stabilizing or cutting taxes,” both significant concerns expressed by voters back in November.  52% of voters gave Mr. Obama a vote of “no confidence” when comes to his ability to “unite the country.”  And 53% of voters gave him negative numbers when it comes to his leadership in “stabilizing or cutting taxes.”

However, in spite of the pressures of the economy, two wars in the Middle East, an agenda that includes the environment, health care reform, not to mention a potential flu pandemic, 52% of American voters remain confident that Mr. Obama is moving the country in the right direction.

More to come.


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