This Is What A Mandate Looks Like
by Todd Beeton, Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 01:12:27 PM EST
Gallup polled Barack Obama's favorability a few days after his victory last Tuesday and found it has actually soared even higher than the 61% that rated him as favorable in the days leading up to the election.
Barack Obama Favorability Ratings Nov. 6-8
In addition they polled the confidence people have in Obama to be a good president.
Are you confident or not confident in Barack Obama's ability to be a good president?
Not confident 28
No opinion 7
Gallup puts these numbers in perspective.
Obama's favorable ratings from the American people have increased since the election -- rising to 70%, up from 61% in Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Nov. 1-3. But even the pre-election 61% reading broke records, marking the highest rating for any presidential candidate in the 1992-2008 period in which Gallup measured favorability using the current question.
As if to reinforce the point that Obama's election was a repudiation of George Bush's presidency, Gallup puts Obama's favorables up against Bush's record low approval ratings.
George W. Bush Approval rating Nov. 6-8
Presidential transitions are always fascinating spectacles, but Monday's White House encounter between Bush and Obama promises to be especially so because of the historic aspect of the nation's first black president-elect taking a step closer to assuming the highest office. It will also be fascinating because of the sharp contrast between Bush and Obama in popularity. At no time in a half century -- and maybe more -- has a president as beleaguered in public opinion as Bush been replaced by someone so highly esteemed.
Seeing this historic level of popularity for the incoming president, I'm even more optimistic that President-elect Obama will heed his own words from his speech last Tuesday:
This is our moment.
This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.
And even more to the point, I hope he'll heed those of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin from yesterday's Meet The Press:
Roosevelt became great because of what he did. So the challenge will be [Obama's] got a mandate, he's got a majority, and he's got a program. Progressive goals are out there, he's going to have to learn like Roosevelt did in the, in the World War II, even more than the New Deal, move step by step to educate the country, but don't give, don't give up on those progressive goals. This is a mysterious cycle in events that we're going through. Just like Roosevelt said, "We have a rendezvous with destiny." It's a pretty exciting time. And my hope is that he doesn't let that go. LBJ did it in '64 and '65. It's one of those moments in history, you got to make use of that moment.