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Public’s View of Obama Polarizing, Non-Republicans Still Love Him

By Matthew Yglesias on February 23, 2009 at 1:14 pm

"Public’s View of Obama Polarizing, Non-Republicans Still Love Him"

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Gallup notes a slight downtick in public assessments of Barack Obama’s job performance:

President Barack Obama remains highly popular among the U.S. public at the end of his first month in office. However, the 63% of Americans currently approving of his job performance is down slightly from his initial 68% rating in January. The percentage disapproving has doubled, from 12% to 24%.

The microfoundations of the shift are interesting:

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Rather than a broad, mild decline in approval, Obama is actually looking at modest increases in the esteem in which he’s held by Democrats and independents. But Republicans like him less, with conservative Republicans, in particular, taking a sharply more negative view. This tends, I think, to bolster the idea that polarized views of political figures is basically a structural feature of the modern landscape. Obama’s a likable and appealing person, but actually conducting politics and being subject to criticism from his opponents immediately starts pushing the public in a more polarized direction.

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