Today’s headlines are full of somewhat inexplicable good news: People are optimistic about Obama and the stimulus plan, despite unprecedented deficits and Republicans working overtime on television telling us we’re all going to die a lonely, socialist death. According to an ABC–Washington Post poll, 68 percent of Americans approve of Barack Obama’s job performance, and 64 percent support the stimulus. According to a New York Times–CBS poll, more than three quarters of Americans are optimistic about the next four years under Obama, and most people think he’s striving to be bi-partisan, while Republicans are throwing up roadblocks to recovery based on political motivations. The results show that Obama has been effective in selling his plan to the people, and is in a position to continue to communicate his agenda in a way that people will understand (tonight’s pseudo–State of the Union address will be another opportunity). “The aura of good will surrounding Mr. Obama at this stage of his presidency is similar to the one that benefited Ronald Reagan as he led the nation out of economic gloom,” trumpets the Times.
Even a poll conducted by Fox News showed that twice as many voters think that the president tried to reach across the aisle on the stimulus than think Republicans were sincerely trying to help him. In fact, the Fox News numbers showed that 11 percent more people supported the stimulus than didn’t — a substantial margin, depending on who you ask. The headline that ran with Fox’s piece? “FOX News Poll: Slim Majority Supports Stimulus.” A “slim majority”? We thought a “slim majority” was like 0.5 percent. You know, like what Al Gore had in the 2000 popular vote, or something.