Congress, Polls And Politics: A Chat

The Hotline's Amy Walter and I chatted about President Obama's first 100 days -- pre-Specter.

Some excerpts:

Walter: His style is a big part of it. I think he is successful in large part because he's such a departure from Bush

Ambinder: When you say "style," you mean...

Walter: He's not picking fights. He's not referring to himself as the "decider."

Ambinder: Dems love him, GOPers dislike him, but indies are very positive on him. Because of his style. Indies liked Clinton (at times) because of his policies. They hated his style 

Walter: In the end, Americans like action. And this is a guy who looks like he's DOING something. Even if we don't see any "real" results (like a dip in unemployment or increase in manufacturing)

Ambinder: The government IS activist and it APPEARS to be activist. Billions going out the door. Stimulus money, tax cuts. That's what Rahm reminds the WH political team all the time.  I also think that Obama has AVOIDED battles that could make him slightly less popular. He won't do the gun debate. He's resisted getting dragged into any of the culture war stuff Republicans try to start up

Walter: Our latest Diageo/Hotline poll showed that voters are about evenly divided on the issue of more spending versus less. Also interesting was the new P.O.S. poll that showed voters were more concerned about deficit and gov't spending than taxes

Ambinder: All true, but I was referring to the fact that he's giving stuff to people. People like getting stuff. He hasn't really asked them to give up anything. Yet.

Walter: You're right on the sacrifice part. We can get a better economy without having to give anything up. But a year from now, if things are still going south on the economy, voters are likely to move off him too.