The "but" is the country's view on releasing the torture memos and the possibility of what may come...
Barack Obama's performance in the first 100 days of his presidency draws strong public approval in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, but there is decidedly less support for his recent decision to release previously secret government memos on the interrogation of terrorism suspects, an initiative that reveals deep partisan fissures.
Overall, the public is about evenly divided on the questions of whether torture is justifiable in terrorism cases and whether there should be official inquiries into any past illegality involving the treatment of terrorism suspects. About half of all Americans, and 52 percent of independents, said there are circumstances in which the United States should consider employing torture against such suspects.
I expected this. I was a wee kid when Watergate was going on and my parents were fixed to the television, devouring all information from the newspapers. The same is going on, but many are getting their information from the internet and unfortunately some cable news shows.
Barack Obama has a third press conference this week, expect a full disclosure of his position and that of the White House. From there the numbers will shake out one way or the other in the torture matter and possibly prosecution matter of the former Bush Administration.
I believe firmly that this should be dealt with, but remember, Obama is not on that page as many on the left. He released the memos because it was the right thing to do, going after these folks is another matter. He does not want to do it, believes it will be a distraction for the largest hurdle healthcare, and wants to move forward not to play in the mud about what the Bush Administration did. Do I like this analysis? NO, but get ready because that is his position, and I believed AG Eric Holder will have the final say on all this mess.
Now to the poll...
Obama's overall rating remains high, with 69 percent of Americans approving of his job performance. He gets solid marks for his handling of the economy, maintaining a better-than-2-to-1 advantage over congressional Republicans on the issue. Majorities said that Obama has exceeded their expectations in his first three months in office, has accomplished big things and has kept his main campaign promises. Further, public optimism about the economy and the country's direction also remain on the rise since his election, even as few think his major economic initiatives have moved the needle on the nation's flagging economy, their communities or their finances.
This is solid, but I knew the handling of the auto makers would show a negative. We are talking about an institution in this country, one that afforded many lower to middle class Americans to elevate their children and send them to college. If he does not handle the car industry right, he is going to have major problems down the road. You can't lash out at Wall Street with no repercussions, when their greed put this country in the position it is in. You can not glorify the auto industry who has made one disastrous decision after another. We either save the industry or let it go. The same with the banking industry. Can't have it both ways in the end.
But Obama receives less glowing reviews on his handling of the burgeoning federal budget deficit and on immigration issues, where he is at the 50 percent mark, and he gets a negative rating on how he has dealt with the big U.S. automakers.
And finally, Obama gets cred for trying to ease the partisan divide in Washington, though he has not been successful, it is the trying that the public understands. The Republicans could learn some lessons here, their numbers continue in the toilet.
Six in 10 Americans said Obama has kept most of his major campaign assurances, although most said he has not reduced the amount of political partisanship in Washington, as he had pledged to do. At the same time, 90 percent said he is willing to listen to different points of view, and close to two-thirds, 63 percent, said he has brought needed change to Washington.
About three-quarters of Americans see Obama as a "strong leader," as "honest and trustworthy," as empathetic and as someone who can be trusted in a crisis. Six in 10 said he is in sync with their values, and nearly as many rate him a good commander in chief.
Overall, Obama's approval rating is 69 percent. Damn good starting out of the gate.
All the data of the WAPO/ABC POLL is here.