Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Your November WTF

What is frustrated that no one has fixed the economy or created jobs, but feels good about nothing happening for the next few things, and thinks Congress should set the agenda even though they won’t compromise with President Obama?


The American people.…

Almost seven-in-10 (68%) say they voted in the midterm elections hoping to see change. By a large majority (61%-33%), they say the election results – and divided government (60%-36%) – are good for the country. But they are doubtful of just how much change will actually take place. Almost three-quarters (73%) say there either will not be much change or just some change. And 76% believe the country is headed for a period of division with the parties showing little willingness to work together or compromise.

The country sees President Obama as more likely to show a willingness to work with Republicans than vice-versa – 67% said Obama is likely to work with Republicans versus just 45% who said the same of the GOP. But that’s the way the Republican base likes it, according to the poll. The country is split on whether it wants elected officials to compromise — 47% say they do, 43% say they don’t. And just 27% of Republicans want elected candidates to compromise; 63% want them to stick to their campaign positions. In contrast, 64% of Democrats want compromise while 28% do not, and 46% of independents do versus 39% who don’t.

And Americans say they don’t want the president to take the lead role in setting policy for the country — they want Congress to do it. They said so by a 52%-39% margin in this poll. That 39% for Obama actually is higher than what they said of Bill Clinton in 1994 – after Democrats suffered major losses in the House – and of George W. Bush in 2006, when Republicans lost control of both the House and Senate. Just 30% favored Clinton taking the lead, and even fewer — 21% — said so of Bush. The only time in the poll’s history that a plurality of respondents said they wanted the president to set the agenda was after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Obama’s job approval rating in this poll ticked up slightly to 47 percent approving and 47 percent disapproving. That’s the first time since May that more people didn’t disapprove of the job he was doing than approved.

Anyone want to try to make sense of this? I’m fried.  


  1. It is no surprise to me that voters think divided control is a good thing. There was a time, before the GOP succumbed to mad cow disease, that I thought the same. I thought gridlock would prevent one party or the other from doing serious damage. Look at the years of divided gov’t under Clinton and the years of one-party control during Bush’s first 6 years and tell me I’m wrong. Unfortunately, we are in a period where we need gov’t to act, so gridlock is not good for the country at this time.

    The idea that people want change is no surprise. The last 3 years have been pretty brutal. The right direction / wrong direction numbers are abysmal. Who doesn’t want change? The main problem with that is that people want different kinds of change. The Goopers want to change back to a time before there were any DFHs while the liberals and progressives want to expand the safety net and want this to be a more equitable society. Not much room for compromise there.

    The number that seems significant to me is the job approval number. 47% is pretty high for a president with an economy and unemployment like it is now. His numbers have been remarkably steady, given the current climate. Perhaps part of that approval can be explained by the poll result that says people believe the president is more likely to be willing to work with the other party. Watch those numbers climb when we get some positive news for a change.

    As for these numbers –

    And just 27% of Republicans want elected candidates to compromise; 63% want them to stick to their campaign positions. In contrast, 64% of Democrats want compromise while 28% do not, and 46% of independents do versus 39% who don’t.

    Republicans are ideologues and Dems are pragmatic.

  2. fogiv

    They say 3 percent of people use 5 to 6 percent of their brain.

    97 percent use 3 percent, and the rest goes down the drain.

    I’ll never know which one I am but I’ll bet you my last dime,

    99 percent think we’re 3 percent 100 percent of the time.

    64 percent of all the world’s statistics are made up right there on the spot.

    82.4 percent of people believe ’em whether they’re accurate statistics or not.

    I don’t know what you believe but I know that there’s no doubt,

    I need another double shot of something 90 proof —

    I got too much to think about.

    Todd Snider, Statistician’s Blues

  3. Shaun Appleby

    Sometimes why we even bother asking.  The one takeaway I get from all of DT’s poll results is that a majority of Americans are confused but angry.

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