A new Marist College poll released today of registered voters found that a whopping 83% said that president elect Barack Obama is doing either about or better than expected. The poll also found that voters think Obama will move the country in the right direction, and they approve of his choice of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State.
Sixty three percent of voters said that the Obama’s transition is on the right track. Eight six percent of Democrats approve of the direction of the transition, while only 36% of Republicans approve. So far, Independents are sticking with Obama as 61% approve of the transition. Only 10% of registered voters disapprove of the direction of the transition. Only 4% of those surveyed said that Obama is faring worse than they expected. Seventy six percent of Republicans and 81% of Independents said that Obama is doing about or better than expected.
The partisan divide comes into play when the question was asked about the direction which Obama is taking the direction in. Overall, 55% of voters think Obama is taking the nation in a direction that will change the country for the better, 10% think it is a change for the worse, 24% said no change at all, and 11% were not sure. Eighty three percent of Democrats and 54% of Independents think that Obama is changing the country for the better, but only 19% of Republicans feel the same way. Only 22% of Republicans think that Obama will change the country for the worse, most Republicans, 43%, think that Obama won’t change the country at all.
The most controversial choice that Obama has made for his cabinet is Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State. However, 65% of respondents said that they approved of the choice of Clinton. As is to be expected, Democrats approved of Clinton by more than a 2-1 margin over Republicans (85%-40%). Sixty eight percent of Independents approved of Clinton at State. More than anything this poll demonstrates how eager people are for change, and the big expectations that Obama and his administration are facing.
The one element of this poll that did surprise was that the partisan gap on most of the questions wasn’t larger. I think that Obama has made inroads with moderate Republicans. His cabinet selections have demonstrated that he does not plan to govern from the left. Although it might disappoint many liberals, it looks like Obama will be governing from the middle. This is where I think that he has to govern from. The nation isn’t liberal, so Obama needs to lead from a position that reflects the national political mood.