Obama in a Word: ‘Good,’ ‘Incompetent’

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Americans see Obama as a ‘dictator’ and ‘impressive’.

Since the beginning of Obama’s presidency, Pew has been asking Americans to describe the president in one word. President Barack Obama is most likely to be called “good” at his job or “incompetent,” according to a survey released Tuesday that shows public opinion about him as divided as ever. “Intelligent” was the word offered up by 21 respondents, while 12 each offered descriptions of “dictator,” “honest” and “idiot/stupid.” Pew conducted the same survey in April 2009, finding then that “intelligent” topped the list for the then-new president, and in June 2013, “good” also led the pack.WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — While name calling isn’t new to the president, ”dictator” and “impressive” are a couple of fresh labels that Americans have for Barack Obama, according to survey data released Tuesday.The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 7-11 among 1,504 adults, finds that the words good (35 mentions) and incompetent (33 mentions) are used most frequently to describe Obama. As the president gears up to deliver the annual State of the Union address Tuesday evening, the way Americans currently view him may reflect the harder line he’s taken with Congress over the past year.

Polls released this week from NBC News/Wall Street Journal and ABC News/Washington Post have shown Obama’s approval rating to be ticking upward from the low-40s toward 50 percent. Some supporters continue to point to his intelligence (21 mentions; another nine call him smart), while opponents describe him as an idiot or stupid (12). While the earliest criticisms of Obama were ideological (“socialist,” “liberal”) and judgments of his qualifications (“inexperienced”), those have largely given way to views of Obama as a heavy-handed “dictator” who can’t get things done without resorting to executive fiat (“incompetent,” “idiot/stupid,” “liar,” “failure”). (Side note: Vulgarities didn’t make their way into the responses Pew got until 2012, when the s-word and the a-word debuted.

Nearly four-in-ten Democrats (37%) say this year’s speech will be more important than those of previous years, compared with 20% of independents and just 13% of Republicans. The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted January 7-11, 2015 among a national sample of 1,504 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (528 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 976 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 563 who had no landline telephone).

For detailed information about our survey methodology, see http://people-press.org/methodology/ The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity and region to parameters from the 2012 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the Decennial Census. The following table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey: In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

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