A new ABC News/Washington Post poll was released on Tuesday. Overall, the poll had good and bad news for the President. However, what should be noted is that the President is still viewed in a far more favorable light than Congressional Republicans. Also, despite all of the negative press that the implementation of the health care law has received by the mainstream media, approval for the law surged from the previous month’s poll results.
President Obama’s approval rating came in at 43%, which is a tick higher than last month’s, which was at 42%. The good news here is that the President is not seeing any further dip in his ratings. The approval rating is not necessarily good, as he is currently carrying a net negative of 12%. However, considering the endless media coverage of the ‘botched’ rollout of the ACA that followed the Republican-led government shutdown, it could definitely be worse. Also, just for a little context, the President’s rating today is nearly identical to where it was in late 2011, when he was hovering in the low-40s while Congress was doing its best to obstruct every move he made.
Meanwhile, public approval for the ACA shot up six points from November. Overall, 46% of people approved of the law against 49% opposing it. This is remarkable considering how much Republicans and its compliant media machine spent hammering away at the website ‘glitches and the cancelling of junk insurance policies that didn’t comply with the new requirements of the law. It appears that as more and more people sign up for coverage or notice that nothing has changed with their policies that they have through their employers, the more they realize that this is actually a good thing that is happening, not the end of the world as we know it.
As for a generic Congressional vote in 2014, 47% of people responded that they’d vote Democrat compared with 45% who said Republican. That is a modest two-point lead for the Democrats. However, this has definitely tightened from the last poll that asked this question, which was in October. (The question wasn’t asked in the November poll.) On October 20th, Democrats held a nine-point advantage. Of course, the government shutdown had just ended and Republicans were reeling until they were able to get the media to focus on the ACA website issues and change the narrative a short time later.
Another notable poll result was regarding the recent budget deal reached in Congress. 50% of respondents approved of the plan compared to 35% who opposed it. This seems pretty much in line with conventional wisdom. Generally, the feeling is that conservatives and liberals hated the budget deal for general ideological reasons. However, in general, people just want to have a long-term budget in place and not see Congress move from one self-induced crisis to another. Basically, most people don’t want to see another government shutdown.
Congress itself still has an awful approval rating of 16%, but that is four-points up from October. Neither Congressional Democrats or Republicans came out smelling good in the poll. Democrats, though, did have a ten-point advantage over Republicans, as their approval rating was 34% to the Republicans 24%. Democrats had a net negative of 30% while Republicans were at 49% due to a disapproval rating of 73%
President Obama did fare well when it came to voters’ views on certain issues. 52% of respondents felt that he understands the problems of everyday people. Also, 59% of people felt that the economy is improving, which is the highest result the poll has shown on that question. More people (46%) feel that President Obama will protect the middle class than Republicans (40%.) They also trust the President to handle the implementation of the health care law over Republicans by a 42-37 margin.