During an economic crisis, President Barack Obama has maintained 60 percent approval ratings early in his term.
And so far, the public has not tied the Democratic administration to the economy, CNN’s political director said Tuesday in Lawrence.
“Which is a really important piece of the puzzle for his advisers,” said Sam Feist, CNN’s vice president for Washington programming, during a talk at the Dole Institute of Politics. “The longer he can go without getting blamed for the economic woes of the country, the better.”
Feist visited Kansas University to speak about journalism and Obama’s first 100 days in office. He said the real test for the new administration will come when things begin to get tougher.
“Whether it’s a little dip or a big dip, it’s going to be a function of the economy as much as anything, which is somewhat in his control but largely not in his control,” Feist said.
Polls — taken before this week’s developments with General Motors — have also shown Obama receiving lower marks on how his administration is handling the automobile industry bailout.
“There are some trouble signs for him, which certainly could be expected, but overall the public is giving him quite a honeymoon in the poll numbers,” he said.
The biggest surprise so far for the Obama administration was the resignation of several key Cabinet-post nominees, including New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson for commerce and former Sen. Tom Daschle for health and human services.
“To have people named and withdraw their names from consideration, that seemed to not be something you would have expected from the Obama team that had really done a very good job and made so few mistakes in the campaign,” Feist said.
Even though the Republican Party suffered major losses in 2006 and 2008, Feist said, GOP members of Congress seem to be hitting their stride at criticizing Obama’s budget plans.
“I think they’re doing the best they can considering they are the minority in both the House and Senate,” Feist said. “They seem to be getting more disciplined in their messages.”