Obama Is Earning High Marks

The latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll has found that Barack Obama is earning “high marks” with the American public for his “handling of the transition and his choices for the Cabinet.”

Even with the bleak outlook over the economy and the news that we are officially in a recession, the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows that “[M]ore than three of four Americans, including a majority of Republicans, approve of the job Obama has done so far — broad-based support he’ll need as he faces tough decisions ahead.”

By 69%-25%, those surveyed approve of his pick of New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his former Democratic primary rival, as secretary of State.

By an even wider margin, 80%-14%, they favor his decision to ask President Bush’s Pentagon chief, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, to stay on the job.

Americans are “projecting their hopes” for the new president, says Charles Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies polling, though they will expect concrete results to follow.

“He’ll have a season of good will,” Franklin says, but over time “it’s going to become increasingly Obama’s economy rather than Bush’s economy.”

Time will tell how Barack Obama will pan out with the public once he is sworn in, but for now “3-1 say they trust Obama more than Bush to handle the economy.” By a wide “58%-33%,” the public shows “they support Obama’s plan for a huge spending package to spur economic growth.”  

On a final note, the poll shows that there is “little concern Obama is relying too much on veterans of President Clinton’s administration,” in fact, “nearly 4-1,” of the poll respondents “predict the officials will make the incoming team more effective, not less so.” I agree. I think Barack Obama has shown his stuff by choosing seasoned team members who know their stuff.

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