The latest New York Times/CBS News poll has some predictably bad news for Obama -- falling approval ratings, particularly on the economy -- and some remarkably good news. For instance, when they asked respondents who is more responsible for the budget deficit -- which has become the rallying cry of the GOP, not to mention the tea baggers warning about our descent into socialism -- 41 percent said it was primarily the fault of the Bush administration, 24 percent said it was primarily the fault of Congress, and only 7 percent said it was the fault of the Obama administration. So that's one Republican message that isn't getting through.
But there was something else we should hope journalists in particular take note of. Despite a round of stories on Obama being "out of touch," most Americans -- including many who aren't happy with his performance -- think that he actually is in touch with them and their problems:
How can this be? After all, Obama went to good schools, and actually performed well at them! He speaks in full sentences! He comes from a big city, not the kind of small town from which all virtue emanates!
Maybe, just maybe, "real" Americans care less about that kind of thing than your average out-of-touch Washington-based journalist assumes. It would be interesting to know how many people think Sarah Palin, whose persona is built on the idea that she's jus' folks, understands their problems. I'm guessing it's a number much smaller than you'd think.
-- Paul Waldman
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