"Obama Gets Strong Support in Poll" (Wall Street Journal)
President Barack Obama enjoys widespread backing from a frightened American public for his ambitious, front-loaded agenda, a new poll indicates.
He is more popular than ever, Americans are hopeful about his leadership, and opposition Republicans are getting drubbed in public opinion, the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests.
The poll found a sharp jump in the proportion of Americans who say the nation is "generally headed in the right direction" since Mr. Obama's January inauguration, a period when economic indicators and financial markets have suggested the opposite. The survey shows that 41% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction, up dramatically from 26% in mid-January, before Mr. Obama took office, and up from 12% before the election.
The number who say the country is on the "wrong track" is still higher at 44%, but given the economic conditions, pollsters expected it to be much higher.
In the past, similarly sudden improvements in national mood were recorded only after national emergencies that prompted a rallying effect, such as the 2001 terrorist attacks. In this case, the boost is being driven by Democrats and other Obama voters who are pleased with the opening weeks of the administration. Overall, two-thirds of all Americans say they feel "hopeful" about Mr. Obama's leadership and plans, compared with 28% who say they feel "doubtful."
"US Stocks Drop 20% after Obama takes office" (Business Day):
One of the major measures of the health of US stocks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has fallen 20% since Barack Obama was inaugurated on January 20 - the fastest drop under a new president in almost a century.
Experts say investors may be worried Mr Obama’s stimulus measures won’t revive the economy anytime soon.
The 20.4% drop in the Dow is the steepest for a new administration in at least 90 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Dow tumbled 25% in 2009, its worst annual start, as unemployment climbed and bank losses increased.
Overnight, the Dow slid 4.1% to 6594.44, its 12th decline in 15 days, as the worst start to a year for US stocks deepened. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost a further 4.3% to 682.55, extending its retreat to 19.7% since January 20.
"It’s the Obama bear market," said Dan Veru, who helps oversee $2.8 billion at Palisade Capital Management in Fort Lee, New Jersey. “We don’t know what the rules are in so many different areas the government is touching.”
These articles describe the two sides in the class war: it's those who answer poll questions against those who own 401(k)s and stocks. Of course the groups overlap somewhat, but the point is that the median voter-- or answerer of poll questions-- owns a lot less stocks than the median shareholder (particularly if the median is wealth-weighted), so it's possible for Obama's popularity to rise even as he is probably chiefly responsible for the destruction of trillions of dollars of wealth since his election, or even in the briefer time since he took office.
In the short run, Obama's shrewd application of the Median Voter Theorem may pay political dividends, and it's even possible that his tax cuts and education and other benefits targeted to the middle class (not the poor) may yield net benefits to some of them. In the long run, everybody loses from class war, because the class that is most vulnerable to class war-- investors, entrepreneurs-- is the one that drives most of the long-term increases in society's well-being.