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Poll: Voters Skeptical About Obama's Recovery Plan

Wednesday, 04 Mar 2009 08:28 AM

WASHINGTON — Americans are skeptical that President Barack Obama will solve the economic crisis within two years but still overwhelmingly approve his job performance, a new poll found Wednesday.

Most voters also support Obama's mortgage rescue plan unveiled last month in a bid to quell a rising tide of home foreclosures, but they think it is unfair to people who played by the rules and met all their payments.

The large snapshot of more than 2,500 voters reveals deep pessimism among U.S. voters about the state of the economy and prospects for a recovery, according to the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Half of the survey sample was asked whether they believed that the federal government could fix the economic crisis within two years and answered no by a margin of 68 to 26 percent.

The other slice of the survey group was asked whether Obama alone would be able to lead the country out of the economic mire within the same time period, and answered no by a 64 to 28 percent margin.

Yet Obama's approval rating, so far at least, seems immune to the impact of the worst economic crisis in decades: 59 percent of those polled said they approved of the job their new president is doing, compared with 25 percent who did not.

Overall, voters approve of Obama's handling of the economy 57 to 33 percent, and significantly give him much higher marks on the issue — 56 to 26 percent — than Republicans.

"President Barack Obama's approval rating is solid, compared to the historical record of new presidents," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the institute.

"But the lofty numbers he enjoyed after his election are leveling off, largely because of declining support among Republicans," Brown said.

There is also more good news than bad for Obama on three of his key domestic policy priorities, which he has been highlighting in the last two weeks.

By a 55 to 39 percent margin voters believe that he will get healthcare reform, an issue that has bedeviled past Democratic presidents, through the Congress this year.

By a 61 to 35 percent breakdown they also say they believe Obama when he promises not to raise taxes on anyone with a family income under 250,000 dollars a year.

But the president's vow, made last week to cut the ballooning budget deficit in half by the end of his term in 2013, draws more cynicism.

Fifty-five percent of Americans do not believe he can do it, compared to 38 percent who do.

The survey was conducted between February 25 and March 2 among 2,573 voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points.

© 2009 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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