More than half of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll disapprove of President Barack Obama’s recent legislative wins—the financial regulations and health care reform bills—and nearly two-thirds disapprove of his overall job performance.
Congress last week gave final approval to the biggest financial regulatory overhaul since the Great Depression; Obama signed the legislation Wednesday. Fifty-seven percent of poll respondents disapprove of the new law—with more than one-third of those strongly disapproving—compared with 43 percent who said they approve.
In March, Obama signed into law a $938 billion health care measure that guarantees coverage for some 32 million uninsured Americans. Some 64 percent of readers disapprove of that law, with nearly half reporting they strongly disapprove.
Readers also are divided on Obama’s handling of the nation’s economy, with 65 percent saying they disapprove.
Roughly 1,040 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted July 19 and 20.
Do you approve or disapprove of the financial regulatory overhaul legislation passed by Congress?
Strongly disapprove: 34 percent
Disapprove: 23 percent
Approve: 27 percent
Strongly approve: 16 percent
Do you approve or disapprove of the recently enacted health care reform law?
Strongly disapprove: 49 percent
Disapprove: 15 percent
Approve: 20 percent
Strongly approve: 16 percent
In general, do you approve or disapprove of President Barack Obama’s handling of the nation’s economy?
Strongly disapprove: 49 percent
Disapprove: 16 percent
Approve: 22 percent
Strongly approve: 12 percent
What is your opinion of the president’s overall job performance?
Strongly disapprove: 47 percent
Disapprove: 18 percent
Approve: 19 percent
Strongly approve: 16 percent
What is your political affiliation?
Non-affiliated: 38 percent
Republican: 33 percent
Democrat: 23 percent
Other: 6 percent
One thing must be said in the president’s defense: He has extended the string of inept and amateurish management techniques to 22 years, by my count. Furthermore, when we elect more than 90 percent of the incumbents, why do we expect sweeping change for the good? Last election year was 93 percent. So 93 percent equals NOTHING! How is this working out for you? Have you felt how he reaches out only to slap you? Why is he suing Arizona for trying to enforce current laws and still hasn’t prosecuted one Gitmo detainee? How come we no longer care about Gitmo, New Orleans, the economy or a dozen other promises yet to be fulfilled? We got him for two more years. Learn to enjoy!
—Bill Lanigan, Chamberlin
Given the overall mess he inherited, I think the president is doing a relatively good job. The economic initiative programs need additional time to kick in.
—Gary O’Dea, owner, Sourcing Solutions Associates LLC
President Obama did not have any experience to speak of in running anything when he took office on a promise of hope and change. His solutions invariably are to expand the role of government and throw money at a problem. I view him as incompetent. His leadership, when combined with that of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, results in bloated government spending, escalating debt, not much change and little hope!
—Robert Zinnecker, Penfield
I’m happy we have an African-American president. I personally like President Obama. He’s a fine example of a family man. However, his policies have been a disaster. The health care bill was poorly conceived. It did not address tort reform. It will cut Medicare and Medicare Advantage by $500 billion and promote rationing for the elderly and others. It will add taxes to medical devices, drugs and health plans, which will be a financial burden on the entire country. His economic policy is based in part on Herbert Hoover and FDR’s failed government Keynesian economic plan. World War II was responsible for the eventual economic recovery. The European Union and even China have criticized the President’s outrageous spending. His backing of "Cap and Trade" will add substantial costs to utility bills nationwide over a disputed theory of manmade global warming. His lack of enforcing immigration laws, promoting sanctuary cities and the porous border has contributed to the illegal alien crisis. His support of eliminating the secret ballot in union elections and having federal bureaucrats imposing mandatory decisions of labor agreements on the smallest of businesses is un-American. The policies of divulging our weapons inventory, interrogation techniques and apologies to dictators for United States policy are disappointing. Finally, his overall policies are undermining the structure of the United States of America.
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy & Associates, Inc.
This man has an incredibly tough job to do, and he really is making some progress. I believe he has done a great deal of good for us all in less than two years. He really pays attention to what needs to be done, and uses all his resources to try to do the best job. To be sure, there have been a few minor or even moderate mistakes, but overall very positive. These are very tough times we live in now, but I respect the leadership and performance of this man in these past 19 months. There are a lot of problems to solve, many of them created by the previous administration. I believe Mr. Obama has, and will continue to, improve our country and the lives of its people. No one can do it alone, but I still believe he can do a good job for us.
President Obama is a thoughtful, principled leader. In time the legislation on regulation and health care will need to be improved with further consideration. We need elected officials who pay attention to those areas that strengthen our country, and use evidence, rather than ideology, to reach decisions.
—Carolyn Rankin, president, Phinney Rankin Inc.
President Obama is running this great country into the ground. He has made promise after promise only to do as he wants to do. The health care bill, the so-called stimulus package and this new regulatory bill are, in my opinion, very bad for America. Mr. Obama sees himself as the great fixer and he keeps coming up with draconian ways to ruin this country’s economy. I can’t wait for 2012.
—Phil Turturici, Absolute Consulting
The president has missed the mark on 98 percent of the issues this nation faces. He has proven time and time again that his beliefs are anti-business and, worst yet, anti-freedom, as his agenda proves. Our country is strong and we will bounce back from this. God bless our troops as they continue to fight without his true support.
—David Topian, Westminster Real Estate Advisors
I believe that President Obama is moving the country in the right direction. I think the idea of a health care overhaul is needed, but I have serious doubts with the plan that has been passed. Why were there components related to student loans buried in health care? That is my big negative for our current president—he spoke against normal Washington politics and spoke to collaboration. Then he brought in a bulldog like Rahm Emmanuel who uses political bullying to move his agenda. But I have to say that I still believe in what he and his cabinet are trying to do. Working with a scared Congress isn’t easy, and I believe he is doing it well.
— Andrew Muldoon
The Obama administration and its crony Congress is an abusive dictatorship that uses Chicago-style strong-arm political tactics to promote its agenda of socialism and government takeover of the economy. It gets its power by appealing to special interest groups that vote as a bloc without regard to considering the facts and the consequences of their actions.
We have a robust U.S. auto industry and functional banking system thanks to the actions of the president. There are ideologues who would have let both fall apart in spite of what it would do to the country. This nation faces unprecedented domestic and international challenges that cannot be solved in 18 months of a presidential term, despite the speed of the news cycle.
—Mike Zobel, Global Crossing
O’Blah Blah, has driven us deeper in economic despair. He knows nothing, has no experience and is ignorant regarding world leaders and events. He encircles himself with academia that has no real-life experience or opinions. God help us.
Who could have done better? He and his party made huge strides to get the nation out of the economic mess and he made superior efforts to establish a comprehensive health system. He tried his hardest to involve the Republicans. They make me sick setting the interests of a tiny group of rich people over the interest of the nation. As with all legislation, not all went well, but weaknesses can be fixed as they are discovered. Obama also straightened out a huge mess in the international arena that was left for him. There is no one on the other side of the aisle who can even touch his skills to getting the nation back to an improved state. I am urging him to get us out of the wars.
—Ingo H. Leubner
Obama is a strategic thinker, so results are not going to be immediate. But wait a few years and significant change will be forthcoming. Too bad the Republicans in Congress don’t want to help govern as they plot to see him fail, along with all the talking heads that search only for the negative. It is so harmful to us all stifles the potential that has made the United States great.
Nothing to the good has changed for the average person. People only need one thing: JOBS. He should stop all other efforts for a day and work on JOBS.
There is positive leadership from this president. It’s easy to whine, moan, complain and be negative when serious results may take months, years or longer to measure. I retain my conviction that eventually we will get to a better place as a result of this man’s service.
—David Lamb, Rochester
I had to delete the first three versions of my opinion. Enough said!
The only way to overcome this recession is to reduce taxes for small business. Fifty percent of all businesses in the United States have fewer than 10 employees. If we are going to grow our economy, we MUST free up capital through reduced taxes so that these businesses can reinvest.
Every once in a while, the country makes a terrible mistake and this time is the biggest yet. The failure of the press to vet the candidate and place his record and political leanings in the public eye is a massive and terrible failing. We elected an individual who would not qualify to lead a small company as the leader of the most important economy on the planet, and the press, who is supposed to be a guardian of our freedom, is failing to point out the ongoing incompetence of Obama and the Congressional leadership. As a people, we have failed in our responsibilities to select and elect representatives who will support and protect the Constitution and it is time we correct our mistakes in the coming elections. Obama has set a poor example to all of us and his socialist leanings are letting the far left Congress financially damage the future of this country. Our first priority needs to be to turn out the current Congress and replace them with responsible adults who listen to the electorate. The 2012 election will require a strong centrist presidential candidate to start undoing the harm that Obama has done to the presidency and the country.
—Dave Coriale, Webster
Some reforms to get us out of the worst decline we have been in for generations have been watered down or stopped due to the need for 60 votes in the Senate. Those 40 Republican senators barely represent 33 percent of the population, yet they continue to stop what America voted for in 2008. In an Orwellian twist, those same Senators are blaming Obama and Dems for not getting us out of the mess they put us in for eight years.
—Jim Bertolone, AFL-CIO
Responses will probably mirror political affiliations. Me? I’m scared. The Feds sue a state for dealing with illegals. Addictions of all sorts abound, unabated. Out-of-control debt with a legislated tax increase on the horizon, further crippling the middle class. Generations of denizens wanting handouts with no accountability. Double standards for those in charge compared to those they represent. Our biggest export seems to be jobs. Combined with evil permeating over every part of the globe, we’ve got a catastrophic stew simmering. The question is, when will the pot boil over.
Obviously, the president did inherit a multitude of problems. However, the platform that he ran on, and succeeded in, is a FAR CRY from his current performance. We have another Jimmie Carter, very bright but completely out of touch with reality. We really need another pragmatic leader, maybe not "popular," but productive in the areas that demand problem-solving. Hopefully, you’ll run a similar survey on the Congress!
Big government and high taxes are growth deterrents. Businesses, small and large are being very conservative in their hiring and investment decisions. Recently, the WSJ reported that cash corporate reserves are in excess of $3 trillion and on hold. This president and congress have failed miserably in leading and creating the business friendly policies that would result in a healthy long term investments and growth and staffing.
President Obama has been remarkably successful in imposing a socialist straight jacket on the country with the help of his fellow travelers in Congress. To take a free people and surreptitiously transform them into an ant colony or Borg collective working for their rulers is contemptible. Who among us can look at their children or grandchildren without sadness and guilt over the massive debt with which we have burdened them? Why is there no outrage over what has been done to the country? The American people are meant to be free. We must regain our spirit and resolve to once again become free.
We still have to give the guy a break! He inherited a mess from Bush, who started the wars, and drained the economy, starting the recession. He would be further ahead if not for the turncoat who reduced the Democratic majority.
—Hutch Hutchison, In T’Hutch.
While I think the president was right in pushing both for health care and financial reform, I wish the parties could have found middle ground in the best interest of the nation.
—Clayton Cloen, president, Rochester Management, Inc.
Americans need to understand both the depth and scope of unprecedented challenges President Obama inherited from nearly a decade of highly disciplined and focused Republican strategy. I’m astonished at how many middle class people believe that the Republican agenda benefits them rather than the very highest echelon of elite billionaires. Republicans neutered any and all meaningful regulatory oversight, they have spent us into unprecedented debit by prosecution the unnecessary war in Iraq, given tax relieve to the richest Americans, and contrary to what they espouse in their propaganda, they have grown both the government and national debit to stratospheric levels. Republicans turned a blind eye to financial and banking manipulation that triggered a global economic meltdown, and then slither into the sunset, leaving Obama and his team to clean up the smoldering ruins of their debauchery. My only criticism of Obama is that he—(unlike) the Republican machine—strives for bipartisanship and moderation. Obama risks losing much of the support of the left if he isn’t more forceful in his dealings with recalcitrant Democrats in Congress and using his slipping popularity to force Republicans to heed the anger of the American middle class. Maybe, just maybe Americans will be angry enough in November to give Democrats even more power to derail the extreme right’s agenda once and for all. Whatever happens, it will take a decade or more to come back from the devastation wrought by years of far right domination.
—Frank Orienter, Rochester
Right issues. Wrong solutions. I just heard a clip from a song from the 1950s that sums it up: "Let the government runs its business and let me run my own."
—Anita Dungey, president, Auburn Leathercrafters
Let’s see, we’ll put money in the economy by taking money out of the economy, then put it back in the economy and we’ll tax it as it passes through. Yeah, that should work.
—Mark DiFelice, DiFelice Development, Inc.
President Obama has accomplished so much in his short time in office, against serious, very long-term problems. It is disappointing that people have faulted him on the changes he has made, as if he could have totally solved these deeply entrenched problems in a couple years.
As puppet of a master international currency and commodity manipulator, he is the best. As a representative of America, he is the worst.
Beginning health care reform is a major step in fixing the economy. We can’t continue to have uninsured people being treated in an ad hoc and often the most expensive way.
—Pam Klainer, Klainer Consulting Group LLC.
Handing our problems to the folks in D.C. is not the answer. It has never been the answer. We must work as towns and states to build laws and regulations that best fit our needs. The federal government always does a poor job because there is no possible way for them to address every state’s needs while simultaneously addressing their challenges. We need to stop electing people like Barack Obama, who look to solve all our problems by raising taxes and putting up more red tape. Problem resolution begins at the state level, not at the federal level. In 10 years, these issues will still be around, with the added bonus of extra government dead weight to carry around.
—Kenny Harris, EPIC Advisors
Obama clearly demonstrates the stark differences between a polished internationally respected statesman and your everyday neighborhood bully!
—Tom Shea, Thomas P. Shea Agency, Inc.
One of the choices on here should be partially approve, however, the president should be given an abundance of credit for what he has accomplished and the fact he is actually working on the country’s business and trying to move the country forward. I don’t like the deficits any more than anyone else, but I prefer deficits for America’s problems over deficits for wars that do nothing to protect us and waste our resources.
I was once a believer, now I know what a liar Obama is. Change you can count on, in November.
—Joe Fabetes, Rochester
Are you even kidding me with these questions? Has anyone ever heard of history? Communism? Emperors? Seriously.
—Jeffrey A. Gleason
Worst president in the history of our country. Makes Jimmy Carter look good. The enactment of multiple legislative monstrosities that cripple the private sector, raise costs for business, and present an unfavorable business climate, will never provide incentives to the private sector (the true engine of job creation) to hire. This administration believes in discredited Keynesian economics. He and the congress have, and continue to spend our country into oblivion. An avowed socialist, his policies, inimical toward capitalism and the private sector, absent a hint of any management experience, has placed our country on the road to perdition. Debt commissions will simply provide him political cover toward his ultimate objective of raising taxes in support of further redistribution efforts. His doctrine? Embolden our enemies, undermine our allies, and diminish our country.
The problems are complex and long standing.
You don’t have to look very far for campaign promises broken by Barack Obama. He has a Socialist agenda where the solution to everything is bigger government. Socialism is the equal distribution of less. Capitalism is the unequal distribution of more. The U.S. is the center for Capitalist solutions which have given us the greatest economy in the history of the world. The European nations are now abandoning their Socialist leanings, while the U.S. is embracing their failed policies. The elections in November 2010 and November 2012 will show whether the USA is headed for Capitalism or Socialism. Bring it on.
—Clifford Jacobson, WebHomeUSA.com
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