The reporters assembled Thursday morning to hear the results of a new poll measuring public attitudes toward President Obama did their best to ferret out nuggets of bad news. How durable is the president's high job-approval rating (63 percent) and higher-yet personal rating (73 percent)? One bit of bad news and the rainbow disappears? asked one scribe. What about the narrative Republicans are advancing that Obama is a weak president who can be pushed around? Another wondered how much of Obama's "halo effect" could be attributed to the nation's "historic self-congratulations" over the breakthrough his election represented.
But voters aren't in a self-congratulatory mood. They're worried about the economy, and the Obama that emerges in the data is a strong leader with convictions who has held up despite the battering he's gotten in the three months since taking office. Pressed to point to red flags for Obama in the numbers, Pew Research Center president Andy Kohut pleaded, "I'm trying, I'm trying.