A Monmouth University poll that came out the other day showed President Barack Obama generating a lower level of credibility and faith regarding his efforts for the middle class than he would hope to see.
According to the poll, the American public are split on how they see Obama’s continued approach and outlook on making life easier for the middle class over the course of the remainder of his term. He recently went to Galesburg, IL and Knox College to talk about the economy, jobs, and the middle class in great length and set a framework for the next three and a half years. For those who were surveyed in the Monmouth University poll, only 46% believe the president when he says he is dedicated to helping the middle class. 50% feel the opposite way.
Naturally, Democrats and Republicans are going to have opposing views on the president as 78% of Democrats feel the president is seriously working to help the middle class while 87% of Republicans do not think he is. Independents were more split and like a good deal of polls reflected roughly the overall numbers. 54% of Independents were more suspect and uncertain on the president’s objectives while 42% felt the president would work and has worked hard for the middle class.
The poll also ranked five grouped: middle class families, poor families, wealthy families, Wall Street bankers, and health insurance companies. The middle class would be put on the bottom of that list in terms of whom Americans believe Obama’s policies have helped.
Leading the way for whom has been helped most was Wall Street bankers whom according to 44% of respondents have benefited a lot from Obama’s policies while 26% say they benefited a little. It might not be overly surprising that with bailouts and other measures, Wall Street has unfortunately gotten lucky at times over roughly the last half decade. However, with calls for more fair policies and similar bailouts for workers and students alike in addition to Dodd-Frank legislation passed a few years ago; that percentage should hopefully decrease in future polls.
Coming in second and not too surprisingly and following the same theme of getting lucky through policies that have unfortunately leaned their way, wealthy families are viewed as having benefited nearly as much as Wall Street. 35% of respondents felt wealthy families have been helped a lot and 31% felt that same group has been helped a little. Close behind wealthy families is the third group: health insurance companies who were viewed as benefiting a lot by 34% of respondents and benefiting a little by 27% of respondents.
Right after them and before the middle class falls poor families who are seen as benefiting a lot by 20% of respondents and benefiting a little by 39% of respondents. Finally, there are middle class families who are seen as benefiting a lot by just 12% of respondents. 39% of respondents said middle class families have benefited a little.
Just 20% of Americans say poor families have benefited a lot and 39% say they have benefited a little during the Obama era. Moreover, 46% said that middle class has not benefited at all. That is higher by a wide margin than three of the four other groups as 14% said the same thing of Wall Street, 23% said the same thing of wealthy families, 26% said the same thing of health insurance companies, and 37% said the same thing of poor families.
As Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, would outline,
Given President Obama’s track record with the middle class, this new focus may be seen as too little too late. Of course, some of the problem may lie in the acrimonious relationship between the President and the House of Representatives.
Despite everything mentioned thus far, 55% still believe that policies geared towards the middle class will at least somewhat likely take place. Possibly the biggest reason behind the mixed numbers for Obama is the U.S. Congress. Despite efforts to present legislation and pass legislation, the divided houses of the U.S. Congress have prevented much traction from taking place. Hence, it makes somewhat sense that only 30% say it is likely Congress will act any measures the president presents for the middle class.
Again, partisan politics and viewpoints come into play when talking about the president’s intentions as 84% of Democrats, 24% of Republicans, and 50% of Independents say President Obama is likely to propose policies for the middle class. However, one thing that does unite all three groups is their less than stellar opinion of Congress as 31% of Democrats, 32% of Republicans, and 28% of Independents think that Congress would actually act on anything Obama presented them.
Finally, 42% approve of Obama’s overall job performance compared to 51% who disapprove. 28% say the country is headed in the right direction while 63% say it is on the wrong track. The numbers likely are not too surprising based on the poll numbers outlined above as well as issues like the NSA and wiretapping garnering headlines. Time will tell if legislation and other aspects can reverse some of the numbers outlined in this poll.