The past couple of weeks have highlighted the strengths of President Obama and the weaknesses of Sarah Palin. New polls, one from Gallup/USA Today and one from CNN, show Americans are impressed with Obama, who on the heels of legislative victories during the lame-duck session was tasked with bringing the country together in the wake of a tragedy, and did so with his speech in Tucson to near-universal approval. Palin, on the other hand, found herself under criticism for use of political imagery and suspect rhetoric that’s left Americans cringing.
According to Gallup, 61 percent of respondents are satisfied with Obama’s job of “showing strong moral character.” Needless to say, that number soars when the respondents identify as Democrats (84 percent). Sixty percent of independents and 43 percent of Republicans are satisfied with his moral character. With nearly half (49 percent) of the public, according to a new Pew Poll, following the news out of Tucson closely, these numbers are likely linked to Obama’s response to the tragedy.
On the other hand, the CNN poll finds that Palin’s unfavorable rating is at an all-time high. At 56 percent, Palin’s unfavorable figure is seven points up from right before the midterm elections. This poll was conducted after Palin was mired in the controversy. First she was accused of violent imagery after a campaign ad surfaced that included crosshairs on a map (including one over the district of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords), and then for her use of the term “blood libel” in response to the media coverage of said imagery.
Even as many of Obama’s numbers continue to rise over the past month, the most recent Gallup poll indicates that the country is concerned with his ability to bring about positive change. Despite being the message of his campaign, only 28 percent of respondents are satisfied with his ability to bring about real change. Perhaps linked to this concern is the fact that only 38 percent of those surveyed believe the president does a good job putting the country’s interest in front of politics.