Most Liberals Back Obama Despite Disagreements

While there has been some noticeable criticism of Obama from the left, with some even resorting to ridiculous hyperbole claiming Obama is no different from George Bush, Public Policy Polling puts this in perspective:

Our new poll suggests that liberal unhappiness with Barack Obama is still largely anecdotal and not very widespread. His approval rating with liberal Democrats is 95%, with only 3% disapproving of him.

On health care 88% of voters in that group say they’re with Obama and only 7% are opposed. We simply are not seeing any broad evidence of push back toward him from the left for not advocating for single payer.

There is a little more unrest with him on Afghanistan. 68% of liberal Democrats support his approach there with 22% opposed. Even with those who disagree with him on the issue 81% express approval of his overall job performance so it doesn’t seem to be a deal breaker by any means.

Despite the occasional attacks on Obama from the liberal blogosphere, it looks like most liberals are capable of differentiating disagreements on specific issues with overall approval. Besides, most of us never expected to agree with Obama on everything, and realized that the chances that someone who wanted to get out of Afghanistan immediately becoming president, regardless of the merits, was pretty close to zero.


  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    While I’m not precisely ‘liberal’ (I tend to find myself further and more stridently on the left in reaction to much of the GOP push to the right, and am starting to think ‘radical’ is more than just the original sardonic observation about US politics it was when I started my blog) I have been critical of Obama, but I’ve tended to be more critical of his critics.
    First, with the usual political caveats and disclaimers, the president has largely followed precisely the blueprint he laid out in his campaign. He has attempted to govern in a bipartisan, pragmatic fashion and seek consensus… almost to the point of fault, it is true, but it is what he promised us. He didn’t win states no Democrats had won for years because of fiery liberal rhetoric.
    Second, I believe many of the president’s critics misunderstand or misrepresent the current political state of the Democratic Party. They either fail to understand or don’t care to admit that the Democratic Party, today, includes far less of the visionary liberalism of Robert Kennedy or Hubert Humphrey and far more of the hard-headed pragmatism of Dwight D. Eisenhower or Everett Dirksen. The Democratic Party of today straddles the same portion of the center of American politics as the moderate-to-liberal Republicans of the 1950s and the 1960s. Some of them are more conservative.
    It’s not entirely incorrect to say today’s Democratic Party has far more in common with the Republican Party of the 1960s than the Democratic Party of the same period. It is a moderate party with a significant liberal movement and a significant conservative presence.
    Even if President Obama were not basically conservative in many ways, the current structure of the Democratic Party is not conducive to radical reform of the kind the president’s liberal critics demand. Nor does the liberal wing of the Republican Party, once crucial to the passing of the New Deal, civil rights reform, and Medicare even exist anymore… with the possible exception of two senators from Maine and one from Rhode Island.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    It’s not that the Democrats are more like the Republicans but that today’s Republicans have moved so far to the right that the Democratic Party has become a big tent which encompasses both old Democratic views and many old Republican views.

  3. 3
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ‘It’s not that the Democrats are more like the Republicans but that today’s Republicans have moved so far to the right that the Democratic Party has become a big tent which encompasses both old Democratic views and many old Republican views.’
    I both agree and disagree. The Democratic Party has always been a big tent to some degree. The only real period when it was not was when the Dixiecrats began defecting to the GOP in the late 1960s and left the liberals pretty much with the run of the table in the 1968 and 1972 elections. By 1976 the Democratic Party was already nominating a conservative, Jimmy Carter, who was reacting against the liberal party leadership. Since then, the Democratic Party has been a big tent again.
    The GOP, which used to be an equally big tent, has been shedding liberals and moderates since the 1980s when the ‘big tent’ policy switched from ‘everyone is welcome in the search for consensus’ to ‘anyone is welcome as long as they agree with the right wing of the party’ in the Reagan Era.
    The Republicans had always been a genuine big tent up to that point, with liberals (Teddy Roosevelt, the LaFolletes, Nelson Rockefeller, Earl Warren), moderates (Dwight Eisenhower and Everett Dirksen), and conservatives (Calvin Coolidge, Goldwater, Robert Taft) all coming up with a pragmatic platform by consensus. The party had shifted left or right with its presidential candidates, but the sense of consensus was never absent.
    That’s where the Democrats are now. In the classic position generally assigned the Republican Party: a relative ‘solid’ and ‘pragmatic’ party in which liberals and conservatives form a moderate consensus with which neither is terribly happy. 🙂

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