"After Barack Obama's first six weeks as president, the American public's attitudes about the two political parties couldn't be more different, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds. Despite the country's struggling economy and vocal opposition to some of his policies, President Obama's favorability rating is at an all-time high. Two-thirds feel hopeful about his leadership and six in 10 approve of the job he's doing in the White House."
"What is amazing here is how much political capital Obama has spent in the first six weeks," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. "And against that, he stands at the end of this six weeks with as much or more capital in the bank."
"By comparison, the Republican Party — which resisted Obama's recently passed stimulus plan and has criticized the spending in his budget — finds its favorability at an all-time low. It also receives most of the blame for the current partisanship in Washington and trails the Democrats by nearly 30 percentage points on the question of which party could best lead the nation out of recession."
Last week's Post-ABC News poll shows that voters trust President Obama on the economy by a remarkable 35 percentage points more than they trust Republicans in Congress -- the biggest advantage for a president on this question since George H.W. Bush basked in public approval of his handling of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.
The source of Obama's advantage is critical: independent voters, who give the president high marks on his handling of the economy and his job overall.
Obama won these voters, who famously recoil from what they see as overly partisan and shortsighted politics, by eight points in 2008 -- a dramatic improvement for the Democrats from 2004, when George Bush and John Kerry tied.
There are other groups of voters worth watching. Among those with a history of voting in presidential elections, Obama and Sen. John McCain essentially ran even. Obama won first-time voters by a convincing 39 points -- owing largely to a combination of younger voters, Hispanic voters and disaffected voters.
The sentiment seems alive and well today. Seventy-three percent of all voters, The Post found, believe that the president is trying to cooperate with Republicans. Only 36 percent believe the same to be true of the GOP.
It would surprise no one to learn where new voters and independents came down on that question.
Do you think Boss Limbaugh is paying any attention to this?