Strong Confidence in Obama

  • January 15, 2009

Public confidence in Barack Obama to deal with the nation's most pressing problems is quite high, with about seven-in-ten saying they have at least a fair amount of confidence that he will do the right thing when it comes to mending the economy, preventing terrorism, and in dealing with Iraq. Notably, many Americans not only see the president-elect as a problem-solver, but as a “uniter” as well, according to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

For the first time in several years, there has been a sharp decline in the proportion of Americans who say the country is more politically divided than in the past. Fewer than half (46%) now see the country as more divided, down 20 points from January 2007 (66%).
Moreover, the percentage saying that Republicans and Democrats in Washington will work together more to solve problems, rather than bicker and oppose each other, is markedly higher than it was at the start of either of President Bush's two terms. Currently, 50% say the two parties will work together more to solve problems, while 39% expect more partisan bickering. Four years ago, just 30% said the two parties would work cooperatively while nearly twice as many (59%) said they anticipated more partisan bickering. Public expectations for partisan cooperation are now as great as in January 2002, amid the mood of national unity that prevailed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Democrats are particularly optimistic about prospects for partisan cooperation: 59% of Democrats say they expect the two parties to work together more, compared with 49% of independents and 40% of Republicans. 

Read the full report Strong Confidence in Obama - Country Seen As Less Politically Divided on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.