The majority of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll disapprove of President Barack Obama’s overall job performance. His approval rating is down slightly from a year ago.
Some 16 percent say they strongly approve of the president’s overall job performance, and 23 percent say they approve. A year ago, 22 percent of Snap Poll respondents said they strongly approved of the president’s performance and 23 percent said they approved.
Last week Obama delivered his final State of the Union address before the 2012 election. Much of his speech focused on economic issues; he said more than 3 million jobs have been created over the past two years but added that more must be done to “restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
Delivering the Republican response, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said “the president did not cause the economic and fiscal crises that continue in America tonight. But he was elected on a promise to fix them, and he cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse.”
Some 62 percent of respondents to this week’s poll disapprove of the president’s handling of the nation’s economy versus 57 percent a year ago and 60 percent two years ago.
More than 1,100 readers participated in this week’s poll, which was conducted Jan. 30 and 31.
Do you approve or disapprove of President Barack Obama’s overall job performance?
Strongly approve: 16%
Strongly disapprove: 42%
Do you approve or disapprove of the president’s handling of the nation’s economy?
Strongly approve: 12%
Strongly disapprove: 46%
What is your political affiliation?
Have voted in all the presidential elections since Nixon, suffered through the horrible Carter term. Have never seen anyone as ill-prepared for office as Obama. He may be a politician, but he is not a leader, or statesman. God help our country if he is re-elected.
—Al Kempf, Power Equipment Co.
Obama is for common people and not millionaires. If given the chance to get anything approved through Congress, this man could be making more of a difference to bring the country back from ruin. We need to tax the rich more and the middle class less. Middle-class wages come right back into the economy, especially to small businesses. Republican candidates are too out of touch with common people. When Warren Buffett complains he’s not paying enough taxes, there is something desperately wrong with the system.
I’d give him a 4 or 5 out of 10. He has decent ideas and plans but is not a strong enough leader to get the dysfunctional (House) and Senate to do anything with those ideas.
I realize the president has little to do with how the economy is running, but some of the policies he has put forth have not helped. Especially helping homeowners; that program was a complete scam.
Ranks with Jimmy Carter as the worst president of my lifetime. He’s clueless on economic, defense and foreign policy issues. He’s fostered a culture of entitlement and made the U.S. weak and the laughingstock of the world. If he somehow finds a way to fool enough people to get re-elected, we may never recover from his disastrous policies.
—Chuck Barone, Rush
I believe that if a Democrat is in the White House, then the Republicans believe it is their job to make the president look bad and vice versa. This is no way to run our country. We need to put our party affiliations aside and work together!
While far from perfect, things are a lot better than when he took office and the economy seems to be headed in a good direction.
—Dave Vanable, Honeoye Falls
The United States is on a path to economic doom because of government policies of reckless spending, uncontrolled borrowing, overregulation, and bloated and ineffective government. Obama continues to push the nation to that doom in his unrelenting drive to make the United States a socialist economy totally controlled by government similar to Greece, Spain, Italy and other failed nations of Europe.
—Jim Weisbeck, Bloomfield
Considering the opposition in Congress, President Obama achieved amazing successes. Obamacare is a significant and well-designed step to provide all Americans with health care. His call to economic fairness has been long overdue. In foreign politics he has achieved an amazing positive change in relationship with other countries, avoiding new military adventures. His caring for the average American is a welcome change from previous pampering of the rich. I am looking forward to another four years of his presidency.
—Ingo H. Leubner, Crystallization Consulting
The president has had three years to improve the economy and all he has done is make it worse. Having 40 percent of government expenditures borrowed is the height of unsustainable folly. He needs to go before the county is further weakened.
—Bob Worden, Penn Yan
Mr. Obama seems clueless and has surrounded himself with advisers who are out of touch. I am “hoping for a change” come November!
—George Thomas, Ogden
Smaller government and lower taxes—that the direction we need to go!
All the political BS aside, this clown makes Jimmy Carter look like a brain surgeon.
—Jim Duke, Victor
Washington is measurably more polarized than it has been in years. The influence of big money is as big as the money that buys it. Amidst all this, there are serious global threats. In this environment, the president and Congress do not function the way they should for the common good. President Obama has done fairly well, given the circumstances, but we all want a much better functioning government at all levels.
—Carolyn Phinney Rankin, president, Phinney Rankin Inc.
The Republican Party … are a party divided, and a party divided cannot win!
This is not a normal recession but the aftermath of a combined housing, banking and debt crisis and will take longer than normal to work out. Congress votes the budgets and congress controls regulatory bills, so blame them for failures to take more aggressive action to pare back wasteful spending, to let the mortgage market clear and to do proper banking reform (the banks are still allowed to act like casinos and are too big).
The president brought little experience and a lot of shallow promises with him when he took office. He has demonstrated an arrogance and lack of willingness to listen to others or compromise that have done nothing improve the country’s economic situation.
—Robert W. Zinnecker, Penfield
Mr. Obama came into a mess that was in the making since the 1980s—it will take more than four years to clean up this mess but he is doing a job that none of the old men wanted to do or that they were willing to help him with they just played the same old popularity game. It’s time for the new thinking; it’s time for some fresh thinking. It may not always be the most popular thought—no more of the Congress and Senate that have financial supporters that keep them in their pockets. It’s time for the ones who have people to support them. Wake up, people, it’s your country, too. Do you want what we had? Or do you want something better more robust and capable of making us the true world leader that we boast to being. Make your vote count this year!
If you believe in free market capitalism, you really have to be disappointed with what this president has done. If you believe in a corporatist, centrally planned economy based on Keynesian philosophy, well there is always Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain or Columbia (etc, etc, etc.).
—Devon Michaels, Chili
He should be fired for stepping all over our Constitution. They should also remove all his retirement benefits; he should not be rewarded for what he has done to this country.
I don’t think he could have been a great president as the Republicans were after him from the very beginning. He inherited most of our problems but instead of Congress (especially Republicans) helping our nation together, they are more interested in getting him out of office. I still hold him in high regard as a person who exhibits leadership and dignity to the office.
A for Acceptable. I don’t think Congress worked with him, which caused more problems for America.
From 1789- 2008, 43 Presidents, 219 years, $6.3 trillion worth of debt. Too much debt in two years of Barak Hussein Obama and full control of Congress. With $6.5 trillion added debt and counting. Absurd amount of added debt! Stealing from the public treasury to pay for solar companies that have vanished, funding an electric car at GM that cost $800,000 each to build and sell for $50,000. That’s like telling you kid to run a lemonade stand and sell lemonade for 50 cents a cup and making lemonade for a cost of $8 a cup. I’m thinking even an 8-year-old would know that doesn’t make sense. How do you rate that? Additionally, we American public still own 26 percent of GM. Why? Because more public money can be funneled through it to deal with their pension losses to big labor and to underwrite a failed social agenda within the company. If any other person handled money this way he would be called… uhhhh….Bernie Madoff, and would be in jail. If you are in the Industrial Media Complex you are smitten and on the receiving end of all this "free cash"—like John Corsine, GE, NBC, etc.—then you love him, because you elected him and are some of the cult members. If are you are of the typical American electorate you are not smart enough to know better because you have failed to educate yourself , like the citizens in Julius Caesar’s Rome. If you are a reasonably smart person, the only conclusion you can come to is his handling of everything is not good.
The country has gone from one administration: a war hawking-tax breaks to the rich and the big corporations’ stereotypical Republican song and dance administration to a "let’s give it all away and if that doesn’t work, let’s throw more money at it" stereotypical Democratic administration. Through both, the middle class has suffered. I get the whole 99 percent thing, though the methodology is questionable. "Trickle-down" economics stopped working when corporations stopped creating jobs with their earnings. The people who work hard and try to dream have been beaten up a bit, and it is time—regardless of who gets elected—that something is done for the rest of us. I go out and get a better job when it is time to do so. Some do not have those options. Is the notion of "opportunity," the very cornerstone of American prosperity, such a forgotten virtue for so many? I do not believe that anyone running for either party today has a vision that is not targeted to the audience of the day. This is what happens when you have the evil of many lessors.
The president should read more Adam Smith and less Karl Marx.
—Harry Caruso, Caruso Asset Management
Let’s face it, Congress has stymied President Obama’s every move. Unless Congress starts to focus on the country as a whole, rather than their own ideology, or bid to get reelected in their district things won’t change. Markets need confidence and a sense of predictability. No president, Democrat or Republican, can make progress until he or she gets both houses to work for the good of the entire nation. In spite of the problems with congress, the president has been strong on national security and urging some parts of the economy to move forward. We also need to recognize that we are in a global economy, and the notion of American exceptionalism is a myth. I don’t see any of the Republican candidates capable of doing a better job than President Obama. Once you move beyond the rancor of the primary. I see the current Republican candidates irreparably damaging the party and its chances of success fade, as they brutally attack one another in a scorched earth policy.
—Frank Orienter, Rochester
Given the disaster that the president inherited, he is doing about as well as could be expected. He’s made some mistakes but seems to be learning from them and I think he’ll continue to improve.
Granted, we were in bad shape when he took office more than three years ago. I feel we are still in bad, to worse shape. Just look at the number of unemployed in the U.S.A. The published unemployment rate I feel is not accurate in that it does not take into account those among us who have stopped looking for work. Also take a look at the housing dilemma we are still in, terrible.
—Frank Muto, president, FJM Inc.
Given the conditions and circumstances the president was handed when he took office, I think he has done a good job of protecting and initiating the restoration of our economy. I believe the problem was much more severe than what was published given we were fighting two wars, giving huge tax breaks to companies and rich people, and saddled with outright corruption in the financial industry. I don’t believe a president from any party could do better. I, however, do not believe that Congress has done a very good job at all. Politics in the last four years has been driven by partisanship, lies, distortions, backbiting and downright dishonesty. Our Congress has become as dysfunctional as the New York State legislature and is highlighted by not being able to get anything meaningful accomplished. They have not been able to pass a budget for years and continue to serve themselves first and the nation last. If you want progress, don’t worry about the president. Worry about changing all the non-performers in Congress. Everyone blames the president for the conditions and legislation that has passed. Remember, he is only one person and ALL the other members of Congress have the ability to come up with meaningful legislation and get it passed. It’s also called compromise. I’d work on changing the rules and benefits of Congress as well as replacing most of the members before I would worry about who is president. Good luck on that one.
He is a sham, says one thing while doing the other. His policies have prolonged the recession and will continue to have that effect.
—Terry Palis, Corporate Communications Inc.
Obama has done very well if we were having a nonviolent revolution into either a national or communal socialist state. If you believe he is doing well, then perhaps required reading should be, Mein Kampf, Das Kapital and Mao’s Little Red Book. No need to confuse things by reading Ayn Rand’s "Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal" or "Atlas Shrugged" (A prophetic novel with implications for today). Or perhaps two very controversial pieces of literature: "The Declaration Independence" and the "The United States Constitution." There was a time when government stayed out of our lives, our pockets and our business(es), and we individually and as a nation excelled and prospered. Since President Wilson, we have been on a downhill slope and Obama has simply pushed us faster and closer to the cliff at the bottom of that slope.
—Michael F. Kloppel, chairman, Ontario County Conservative Party
The premise that tax cuts for the wealthy and reductions in government spending creates economic growth is a myth. The wealthy use any excess money they have for personal comfort and charitable deductions. Middle class consumer spending, not tax cuts for the wealthy, create jobs and help businesses grow. And by the way, wealthy people are not businesses. Only businesses create jobs in the free market. Corporations and businesses invest in job creation when it is in their own self-interest to do so. Without consumer spending there is no incentive to create jobs. Government spending to improve infrastructure creates jobs that drive consumer spending and growth. Consumer spending helps corporations and small businesses and creates additional jobs. People with jobs pay taxes which offsets Government deficits. People with better jobs pay more taxes that offset government deficits. Modest tax increases on the top earners is needed now to reduce the deficit and provide needed revenue for improved infrastructure, which in turn will drive the growth of consumer spending and reduce deficits. Cutting government spending leads to higher unemployment and recession because consumer spending shrinks. When consumer spending shrinks, growth shrinks and corporations lay people off. This is Keynesian theory in action. And don’t give me this business about the Keystone Pipeline cancellation and how this fits into the equation as a job killer. This Republican Congress has killed most of the projects that the current administration has put forth to create jobs. You can’t have it both ways.
—Greg Reynolds, East Rochester
It doesn’t matter what political affiliation is president of the United States, he/she would still have inherited the number of issues that President Obama undertook when he took office in 2008. No one, except for God, can fix the last eight years in three-four years, and it’s not fair to crucify someone who is doing the best that he can with what he has to work with. And the problem there is that no one is willing to work with him (even some from his own party) hence the impasse with our economical recovery. It’s so easy to be the Monday morning quarterback and those who sit on the sidelines voicing their opinions/views should run for office if they believe they have the answer to deal with all that envelopes the office of the presidency.
—Cyndy Gayden, Frontier Communications
The economy has been in the tank ever since the Democrats took control of the House and Senate in 2008. The policies of Obama have crippled the recovery by accelerating deficit spending and excessive rule making. Government investments into unproven technologies (solar power, battery makers and electric cars) have proven a waste of taxpayer money. Businesses invest when they are sure they can make money. The anti-business policies of the Obama administration are preventing capital spending, business growth and hiring. Get government out of the way and watch business expand.
Our country is being led by someone who was qualified by his background to give rallying speeches and assume that others would do the work of implementation. His leadership has been a series of rallying speeches followed by a lack of follow through. His record of achievement is abysmal.
—Dave Coriale, Webster
Obama will be remembered as the worst president in the history of the United States. He is always focused on the wrong things. In his first year he was consumed with passing Obamacare at a huge cost to the economic system, but was not focused on job creation when it was needed the most. We need energy independence yet he won’t pursue the Canadian pipeline deal, which would go a long way to accomplish that goal as well as create jobs. Then there is his push for an ever-expanding bureaucracy with czars of questionable character. He needs to go.
—Mike Kaser, Penfield
People criticize President Obama for not being a leader; but in order to be a leader, one has to have followers. Ever since he was elected, the Republicans’ main goal has been to put him out of office. The idea behind our democracy is to support the president during his four years in office and then run against him. If Obama became a Republican, they would still vote against him. I think it’s amazing what he has accomplished considering the opposition he has faced.
—Donald A. Dinero
I think he has done a phenomenal job working to get our country back on track without the proper support of all our elected officials. Imagine what we could accomplish if everyone worked together instead of being divided. Remember, it’s "Together We Stand. Divided We Fall." But thankfully there are many constituents who are beginning to see what’s really happening. President Obama should be re-elected.
—Shaunta Collier-Santos, LandNPR Productions
I find it difficult to believe the hand that Obama has been dealt. True, he knew what he was getting into when he campaigned for W’s job, but he didn’t expect to have the do-nothing-but-say-no Republican Congress to have to coddle to get anything passed, at his mid-term. I would say, all things like this considered, he is doing OK!
—Hutch Hutchison, In T’Hutch Ltd.
After three years in office, I think most would say they are worse off since Obama took office. At this stage, after $800 billion was ineffectually spent on the first stimulus, another election year request for $400 billion in stimulus, and the debt ceiling scheduled to rise $1.2 trillion to $16.4 trillion, we cannot spend our way out of this economic malaise. At some point, our largest creditor (China) is going to cut-up our credit card, leaving us with no choice but to make draconian cuts like those impacting Europe. Debt concerns coupled with a lack of leadership from Obama has depressed the tenor of the business community, with most waiting on the sideline to make capital investments. Without much to say in terms of his accomplishments pertaining to the U.S. economy, it is high time for Obama to exit the oval office.
—Paul Hohensee, Webster
President Obama inherited an economy in disaster. It took the second world war for the U.S. to come out of the Depression. It will take time and a focus on jobs and the financial health of the U.S. to make steady progress over the next few years. The European financial crisis will make the U.S. recovery longer. However, the Europeans are far better off than they were in the late 1930s as are many other countries throughout the world.
—Mike Bleeg, Strategic Results
Considering that the GOP has stopped most of his appointees, all job bills, and/or watered down what has been passed via the filibuster, the President still has real accomplishments. The fact the GOP response was given by George W.’s budget director—who helped give us tax cuts, no jobs and large deficits—is ironic and sad.
—Jim Bertolone, president, Rochester AFL-CIO
President Obama has done less with more resources than any other president in history. The U.S. debt has increased almost $5 trillion in the last three to four years, and the result has been a weak recovery. He blames the Bush Administration for the economic crisis and in part, he’s correct. Yet, President Obama doesn’t mention his party controlled both houses of Congress for the last two years of President Bush’s time in office. As a result, the economy really tanked and President Obama was a member of the Democratically controlled Congress. Therefore, he was part of the problem. President Obama maintains he’s the protector of the middle class, yet much of the recipients of out of control government spending went to government jobs, big labor and those who don’t pay income taxes. A vast majority of the middle class who pay taxes are not government workers and don’t belong to unions. So instead of being the protector of the middle class, he’s putting the excesses of government and big labor on the backs of the majority of the middle class. I do agree with him on payroll tax break. However, he is unwilling to entertain an offset expense reduction in the bloated Departments of Energy, Education, Commerce, etc. In summary, President Obama’s Keynesian economic policies are a disaster. He is throwing a lot of money against the wall and not much of it is sticking. President Obama is leading our once great country into bankruptcy.
—John Rynne, president, Rynne, Murphy & Associates Inc.
Obama had the Congress and the opportunity to focus on improving the economy and halting the printing of money, and the red ink. He has been a dismal failure. He is an ultra liberal socialist who is intent on destroying free markets, capitalism, and free enterprise. If there was a letter grade lower than F, he would get it. For 2012, it’s ABO (anyone but Obama).
—Dennis Kiriazides, retired
2/3/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email email@example.com.