Thursday, September 30, 2010

On handling domestic affairs, Obama ranks even lower than Richard Nixon, hitting new 40-year low in the Gallup Poll

A perusal of older Gallup Polls show something very interesting: On September 18, 2008, Gallup measured the confidence that the American people had in government since before 1973. In the category of confidence in federal government to handle domestic affairs, the numbers Gallup shows in that poll are lower than at any level since Gallup shows online archival data, which means since at least 1972.

That means during Watergate, the Energy Crisis of 1973, and the recession of the same period, Americans had more confidence in Richard Nixon to handle domestic affairs than Americans have today in Barack Obama to handle domestic affairs. The calamitous years of 1973 to 1974, when there were lines to get gasoline (which was suddenly sky high in price), when an American president resigned (preceded by an American vice president resigning), and when the nation dropped into a real economic downturn surely have to rank as the nadir of confidence in government to handle domestic affairs. During those years, American had a viciously divided government, with partisan Democrats, who controlled both houses of Congress, doing everything possible to create suspicion and rancor towards the Nixon Administration.

Gallup, curiously, never asked questions of Americans about their confidence in the ability of government to address their problems during the dreadful years of 1979 and 1980, the Carter Malaise, which would be the only comparable period in modern history. Carter, of course, always had a Democrat Congress, so there were no "Watergate" congressional hearings of his administration. Barack Obama also has overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress and a fawning establishment media. Obama, like Carter, entered office with a huge reservoir of personal goodwill. Yet Obama has driven confidence that Americans have in the ability of government to address domestic affairs to a forty year, and perhaps historical low.

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