New poll shows public disagrees with Obama over handling of terror suspects

UPDATE: Greg Sargent thinks the poll isn’t as bad as it sounds. So I pulled some of the data directly from the poll itself (pdf file). I think Greg’s right. The poll is actually much better for Obama than Politico portrayed it. Other than linking to Ben Smith, and perhaps one more reporter, I’m going to cut back the links to Politico. Their reporting is simply too skewed to the sensational, and I’m tired of falling for their piecemeal approach to finding the one bad apple in a poll. Overall, the poll isn’t bad for Obama, though it is pretty darn bad for Democrats in Congress.

As I’ve mentioned before, I think Obama shares the blame for Congress’ low approval numbers. It’s interesting, however, that in the polls the Democrats receive more of the blame. That suggests that personally Obama is still popular, and the public is willing to cut him some slack. Even when, in my view, he’s a lot of the cause of the problem.

I’m pulling the “likely voter” data.

Country going in right direction: 31
Wrong track: 62

Approve Obama: 47
Disapprove: 48

Who favor in generic congressional election
Dem: 44
Repub: 47

America more or less safe than two years ago (i.e., under Bush)
More safe: 41
Less Safe: 44

US more or less respected in world than two years ago:
More respected: 41
Less: 51

Approve/Disapprove of Obama on various issues (again, likely voters)
Economy: 42/57
National Security: 57/40
Fighting terrorism: 54-41
Actually, the rest of the single issue polls are pretty positive for Obama as well, other than on Iran.

It’s an absurd poll. It’s about the Christmas underwear bomber. Seems the GOP talking points, about it being wrong to mirandize the bomber, are starting to have an effect. It’s absurd because, under non-torture questioning the bomber talked.

So, just like the poll showing that only 6% of the American people believe the stimulus created any jobs (in fact, CBO says it created from 1m to 2m or so jobs already), and the Newsweek poll that showed that people disapprove of President Obama’s health care reform plan until they find out the details, then they love it, this is yet another example of the White House being incapable of delivering its message to the American people.

Of course, what’s more disturbing is that we’ve had ample evidence that the White House’s messaging operation isn’t doing its job, and hasn’t been for a year. When will someone do something about it? After we lose the House and Senate? After we lose the White House in 2012?

Where Obama loses: interrogation and prosecution of terrorism suspects, where a 51-44 percent majority disapproves. Republicans have hammered the administration for its decision to read the alleged Christmas Day bomber his Miranda rights, and the poll results show the message is sticking.

“Two months of Republican criticism have taken a toll,” the pollsters say, with a plurality of likely voters saying they feel less confident about Obama’s handling of national security because of the way he handled the Christmas Day attempt. “And when phrased as a partisan attack, a 60 percent majority of likely voters feels more confident about the Republicans on national security,” they said.

On national security, the poll found that 50 percent of likely voters prefer Republicans, while only 33 percent prefer Democrats. It’s the return of a “security gap” that all but vanished in 2008 because of Obama’s popularity and Bush’s mishandling of Iraq.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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