On Politics, Economy and the American Dream


Perhaps boosted by Obama's election as the first African-American president, 57 percent of nonwhites say the American Dream still holds true, surpassing the number of whites who say so, 48 percent.

ECONOMY - Partisan differences sharpen on whether either party could fix the economy. Among Republicans, 67 percent say it'd do better with their team running Congress. Among Democrats, fewer but still 58 percent think the economy would fare better if they stay in control.

But a whopping 65 percent of independents say it wouldn't matter one way or the other.

There's also a difference among age groups on this question: Older adults are especially likely to say it matters which party controls Congress. Among those under 55 years old, 51 percent say party control won't affect what happens with the economy; that declines to 42 percent among 55- to 64-year-olds, and further, to 34 percent, of seniors, age 65 and up. Interestingly, that's the group closest in memory to the Great Depression.

Still, while seniors are more apt to say party control matters, they divide almost evenly on which party would do more for the economy - 30 percent pick the Democrats, 28 percent the Republicans.

OBAMA vs. BUSH - There are two roots of the public's preference for Obama over Bush to run economic policy today. Obama's better in his base: Ninety percent of Democrats prefer him, vs. 76 percent of Republicans who'd prefer a Bush encore. And independents, the swing voters in such matters, prefer Obama over Bush on the economy by a 16-point margin, 49 percent to 33 percent.

Obama also does much better vs. Bush among young adults, women, low-income Americans and members of racial minorities - reflecting partisan patterns, these being more Democratic groups.

Most strikingly, Obama's preferred to Bush among nonwhites by 75 percent to 14 percent, while whites divide more evenly -- 45 percent for Bush, 41 percent for Obama. (That's not a statistically significant advantage for Bush among whites, given the poll's margin of sampling error, but the sharp difference from nonwhites is impressive.)

Overall preference for Obama vs. Bush doesn't mean most people think Obama's doing beautifully on the economy -- just 41 percent in the last ABC/Post poll approved of how he's handling it, and they split evenly over whether his policies have worsened or improved the economy. Instead he prevails simply in comparison to Bush, whose approval rating for handling the economy fell as low as 22 percent in an ABC/Post poll in September 2008.

Even today, more blame the economy's condition on the Bush administration, for a lack of financial regulations that could have helped avoid the crisis, than on Obama, for failing to turn it around more effectively.

METHODOLOGY - This ABC News/Yahoo News! poll was conducted Sept. 8- 14, 2010, among a random national sample of 1,006 adults. Respondents were selected using an address-based sample design. Households for which a phone number could be ascertained were contacted by phone; others were contacted by mail and asked to complete the survey via a toll-free inbound phone number or the internet. See details here. Results for the full sample have a 4-point error margin. Click here for a detailed description of sampling error.

This survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y, with sampling, data collection and tabulation by SSRS of Media, PA.

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