The latest AP-GfK poll was released this afternoon and it shows that the election of Barack Obama has led to a new wave of optimism among Americans. The poll found that most Americans are hopeful about the Obama administration, and 72% believe that he will make the changes needed to improve the economy.
Since Obama’s election the number of Americans who think that the country is moving in the right direction has more than doubled. In October, only 17% of those surveyed thought that things were going in the right direction. This has more than doubled to 36%. Almost three quarters of those polled said that the election of Obama made them feel hopeful, and another 60% said that they were proud that Obama had been elected. This hope and optimism is strictly limited to Obama though. President George W. Bush has a 28% approval rating, while Congress is seven points lower at 21%.
Seventy seven percent of respondents described themselves as very or somewhat worried that the federal debt being passed on to their children and grandchildren will harm their future. It also seems that Americans want to see some bipartisanship, as 73% said that Obama should appoint some qualified Republicans to some posts in his administration. Forty two percent felt that having Democrats in control was good for the country, while 34% said it was bad, and 20% said that it didn’t matter.
According to the poll, the top four priorities for Obama should be improving the economy (84%), create jobs (80%), stabilize the nation’s financial institutions (61%), and reduce the federal debt (61%). Those surveyed believed that Obama would be able to implement his policy agenda. Sixty eight percent were very or somewhat confident that Obama will be able to implement the agenda that he campaigned on.
It looks like Obama is in line for a honeymoon period. The most immediate impact of Obama’s election is that it has allowed the nation to start looking forward, and begin the process of putting the past eight years behind us. The nation was ready for a fresh start, and what could be a more fresh beginning than a historic president? Obama seems to understand the enormity of the task and expectations that he is facing. I don’t think he needs to fix the economy all at once. I believe that if he merely improves the situation, he will be widely regarded as a success.
People understand the mess that George W. Bush is leaving behind, and that it will take some time to get things back on track, but judging from Obama’s early actions, he appears to not sit back and enjoy the honeymoon period. It looks like he will be getting to work on day one of his administration. If he governs with the same discipline and focus that he campaigned with, he will be an outstanding president. Americans are willing to give him a chance, but he still will have to deliver.