Sneak preview: New survey captures notable voter views of the president’s leadership

posted at 5:35 pm on September 6, 2011 by Tina Korbe

It’s not just that voters disapprove of President Obama; it’s also that they think he’s able to offer far less in the way of leadership than they originally hoped. In fact, by an almost two to one margin (60 to 32 percent), voters believe President Obama has turned out to be a weaker leader than expected. Among critical swing voters, the outcome is bleaker (65 to 24 percent, with 36 percent saying much weaker compared to 7 percent much stronger). A majority of women also share this view, 56 to 35 percent.

That’s all according to a study to be released tomorrow by Resurgent Republic, an independent non-profit dedicated to shaping the debate on the proper role of government.

Not surprisingly, Democrats still say they find The One’s leadership to their liking. Fifty-nine percent said the president has been a stronger leader than expected, while 34 percent said he’s been weaker. But interestingly, union voters said the inverse: 58 percent characterized the president as weaker, while 33 percent characterized him as stronger.

“To me, this just speaks to the waning enthusiasm among groups that you would typically think of as part of the Democratic base,” explains Luke Frans, executive director of Resurgent Republic.

Non-urban voters also believe President Obama is a weaker leader than they expected, 65 percent to 27 percent. That’s significant when you consider that the president just devoted his entire jobs tour to non-urban areas (much to the chagrin of urbanites, who by a plurality — 48 to 44 percent — agree that the president has been a weaker leader).

So, what’s the difference between disapproval and characterizing the president’s leadership as weaker than expected? Disapproval connotes disappointment with decisions, policies and, perhaps, leadership (among other things) — but for voters to say outright that the president has displayed weaker leadership than they expected is to suggest they doubt his presidential capacity — his ability to ever be a president of widespread acclaim and approval. As Frans put it, the question becomes, “To what extent have these voters come to the conclusion that the president is in over his head?”

Voters who have reached that conclusion just might be right. Obama appears to fundamentally lack the brilliance required to be an effective president. In their book “Executive Thinking: From Brightness to Brilliance,” executive development consultants Morris A. Graham and Kevin Baize posit that the best executives possess strong visual-spatial thinking capacity, along with the ability to be decisive, directional and speedy — third and fourth dimensions of thinking that transcend verbal and mathematical ability.

This president, however bright, seems to lack the ability to effectively process conflicting information to arrive at innovative solutions. Just recollect his performance during the debt ceiling debate to see that. Not only could he not decide whether his end goal was a clean increase or a grand bargain, he also failed to ever present a vision that drew from the strengths of every competing party’s proposals — what a truly brilliant leader might have been able to do. The president can offer all the excuses he wants — but, in the end, take away excuses and all that’s left are results.

It also surely doesn’t help that Obama came of age in the 60s, the anti-authority age if ever there was one. Who knows if some subconscious part of Obama finds truly strong leadership — whether that’s the leadership of the president in our country or the leadership of our country in the world — to be a vice of sorts?

No matter the reasons for now. It’s all bad news for the president as he stages a speech as much for the benefit of raising reelection funds as for the sake of substantively addressing the jobs crisis.

Plus, past research from Resurgent Republic suggests Obama’s Thursday speech will do little to raise Obama’s leadership profile. On July 8, RR conducted four focus groups in the critical states of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida and Colorado — and found at least one of Obama’s noted strengths was actually contributing to independents’ growing disappointment with him. From the results memo:

“He’s voiced leadership, he just hasn’t shown it,” said one senior Independent female in Florida. The theme that President Obama needs to “follow through” on his rhetoric was common in both Independent groups. President Obama’s strength of being an effective communicator has the potential of reinforcing voters’ appetite for more than rhetoric. Participants could not name an economic accomplishment and did not believe President Obama has a plan to create jobs or to solve the financial problems of Medicare. Voters give President Obama credit for killing Osama bin Laden, but that event did not bolster his leadership standing on domestic issues.

In other words, Obama — still as sound an orator as the teleprompter president has ever been — will probably sound appealing to listeners Thursday — but that doesn’t mean they’ll be snowed by the speech. Independents recognize that words are no substitute for a substantive policy shift. (Nor, again, should verbal ability ever be conflated with executive intelligence.)

“Independents like what they’ve heard, but there’s a level of skepticism in the follow-through and would things really end up the way they had been framed by the president?” Frans said. “They weren’t quite sure or as willing to answer that question in the affirmative. … There is that dichotomy in what they hear and what they see.”

That cognitive dissonance will likely only grow after Thursday.


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Resurgent Republic may technically be independent, but it is a Republican-leaning firm.

Apologetic California on September 6, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Democrats still say they find The One’s leadership to their liking. Fifty-nine percent said the president has been a stronger leader than expected

If they thought he was going to be even worse, then why the heck did they vote for him in the first place?

pedestrian on September 6, 2011 at 5:40 PM

voters believe President Obama has turned out to be a weaker leader than expected

“Weaker than expected” by who? The 52% that voted for him? Everyone else obviously thought he wasn’t a leader at all.

GarandFan on September 6, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Here’s an off-topic palate cleanser for a rainy Tuesday afternoon:

The only good thing to come from the UN in the last 2-3 decades.

BobMbx on September 6, 2011 at 5:47 PM

Mr. Obama just doesn’t have it. He is an incompetent that reads well. This is not an insult rather it is an accurate description.

Mason on September 6, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Independents recognize that words are no substitute for a substantive policy shift. (Nor, again, should verbal ability ever be conflated with executive intelligence.)

Given that the odds are it’ll just be different words and phrases for the same old failed ideas.

What solid evidence do we have for the man’s inteligence?

Chip on September 6, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Is this just peoples nice way of saying….Obama sucks?

capejasmine on September 6, 2011 at 5:49 PM

Not surprisingly, Democrats still say they find The One’s leadership to their liking. Fifty-nine percent said the president has been a stronger leader than expected

Er, well I think he’s doing a fine job.

crr6 on August 10, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Del Dolemonte on September 6, 2011 at 5:49 PM

I have noticed for months that when you smack Obama around on blogs, facebook etc.. where there are plentiful of Obot types, that they don’t even have the heart to argue anymore. I also see a lot of wailing about how they should have picked Billary. When your own side has no confidence in you, you may as well start packing.

Southernblogger on September 6, 2011 at 5:49 PM

It also surely doesn’t help that Obama came of age in the 60s,

Obama was born in 61. He did not come of age during the 60′s. Those of us born in the early to mid 50′s came of age in the turbulent portion of the mid to late 60′s.

chemman on September 6, 2011 at 5:51 PM

I have noticed for months that when you smack Obama around on blogs, facebook etc.. where there are plentiful of Obot types, that they don’t even have the heart to argue anymore. I also see a lot of wailing about how they should have picked Billary. When your own side has no confidence in you, you may as well start packing.

Southernblogger on September 6, 2011 at 5:49 PM

One thing to bear in mind is the reason he was elected to begin with, which is the color of his skin. And that hasn’t changed. So regardless of how good or bad a POTUS he turned out to be, his reason for being still exists.

Sleep well.

BobMbx on September 6, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Any guesses as to how many points down his approval rating goes after his speech? Ho about the Dow?

a capella on September 6, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Obama was born in 61. He did not come of age during the 60′s. Those of us born in the early to mid 50′s came of age in the turbulent portion of the mid to late 60′s.

chemman on September 6, 2011 at 5:51 PM

I think Tina forgot to add the “post-” in her text. The link has it correct. It says “came of age in the post-60′s….”

BobMbx on September 6, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Leadership? What’s that?

“As I have always said, I’m here to organize you all to get in their faces; to make sure that energy prices necessarily skyrocket because I’m for the little guy, er wait, where’s my m**herf***ing teleprompter?”

———————–overheard near a Jugeared Jackass

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Any guesses as to how many points down his approval rating goes after his speech? Ho about the Dow?

a capella on September 6, 2011 at 5:53 PM

After? It’ll begin falling as soon as his mouth opens.

BobMbx on September 6, 2011 at 5:55 PM

I don’t think Obama offers far less in the way of leadership than I originally hoped. He is performing exactly how I imagined he would. I was hoping I was wrong, but he has proven me right.

ColumbusConservative on September 6, 2011 at 5:55 PM

After? It’ll begin falling as soon as his mouth opens.

BobMbx on September 6, 2011 at 5:55 PM

I’m sure Soros is doubling down on both sides, just to make sure that we tank one way or the other. He can’t stand that his billions haven’t brought total socialism to AmeriKa already.

As for The Jugeared Jesus and his renowned mouth, I wonder if Moochelle is ready to punch him in the lip for making her have to move out of her fancy digs four years earlier than anticipated…

… not to worry, Moo; there’re plenty of hospitals who will need a patient-dumping expert in the hard times ahead.

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 6:01 PM

In fact, by an almost two to one margin (60 to 32 percent), voters believe President Obama has turned out to be a weaker leader than expected.

Well, I expected him to be weak. He’s living up to my expectations.

ted c on September 6, 2011 at 6:02 PM

“Independent” and “non profit” so this survey company just has to be accurate.

This president, however bright, seems to lack the ability to effectively process conflicting information to arrive at innovative solutions.

Uh, no, in the debt ceiling debate, Obama got everything he wanted. Obama’s wants confuse must pundits; they just reject the descriptions of what Obama wants as too extreme, crazy.

Skandia Recluse on September 6, 2011 at 6:04 PM

I was hoping I was wrong, but he has proven me right.

ColumbusConservative on September 6, 2011 at 5:55 PM

You got that right. That’s the way a bunch of us thought in ’08, and still think, but sadly there are too many people with too little sense whose votes count as much as those from people who actually think before they pull the lever.

A rationally functioning democratic republic needs a good educational system to work properly and not self-destruct. Unfortunately, we are not there — not even close.

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 6:08 PM

So it doesn’t matter where he’d take us, just as long as he’s up front leading the parade.

I don’t know. Do Marxists really care about leading? I think their style is more like pushing, shoving and dragging.

JellyToast on September 6, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Until we can get the bleeding-heart libs in the minority in the education system, from top to bottom, we are in a dire situation.

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 6:11 PM

president and leadership in the same sentence for dear leader does not compute…

cmsinaz on September 6, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Colin Powell once said, “A leader is someone people want to follow.” By that definition, Obama misses by a big margin.

glockomatic on September 6, 2011 at 6:12 PM

Increasingly, the vision we are seeing of Obama is one of a very small, very angry, very hateful man. When he is before “his” people, as with this past weekend’s Labor Day speech, the message he delivers is one of divisiveness, of “us against them”. He is a hate-monger, and the most divisive, classless and despicable man ever to be entrusted with the Presidency of the United States. He is as the plague.

Lon Chaney on September 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Did anyone answer that they think he’s a SCOAMF yet?

Fortunata on September 6, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Obama appears to fundamentally lack the brilliance required to be an effective president.

Brilliance is not required. If it was only a Thomas Jefferson would be able to be an effective President. Obama does, in fact possess the traits and characteristics necessary to be an effective President … … of Zimbabwe.

Lon Chaney on September 6, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Lon Chaney on September 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM

+1000

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2011 at 6:55 PM

Obama was born in 61. He did not come of age during the 60′s. Those of us born in the early to mid 50′s came of age in the turbulent portion of the mid to late 60′s.

chemman on September 6, 2011

He has said on a number of occasions that he identifies with the people of the 60s. I’m a bit younger than him, but the last thing I could identify with growing up (and now) was the ethos of the protesting smelly hippie. Apparently that’s his thing.

JonPrichard on September 6, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Schadenfreude on September 6, 2011 at 6:55 PM

The schadenfreude is schadenfreudig. Or somet ing.

We’re gonna win this thing, because enough of the proles got “proled”.

One of these days somebody’ll get what I’m sayin’, hillbillyisms and all.

Dayum.

hillbillyjim on September 6, 2011 at 7:44 PM

What I sent to whitehouse.gov a few minutes ago:

A$$hole: admit it. You are a loser. Even your sycophants in the media are bailing on you. Moochelle would probably bail on you if she had to give up her private jet.

You are in over your head. You are an egotistical a$$hole. You know it and everyone else knows it.

Please spare your daughters the shame of your crushing defeat and exposition of your ineptness.

Invent a medical condition that forces you to resign. Do it for your daughters.

Please read this at your blather to congress on Thur…not that anyone will be watching. I certainly will not.

LTC, US Army (Ret)

PS: RESIGN A$$HOLE!!!!

Dingbat63 on September 6, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Morris A. Graham and Kevin Baize posit that the best executives possess strong visual-spatial thinking capacity, along with the ability to be decisive, directional and speedy — third and fourth dimensions of thinking that transcend verbal and mathematical ability.

This is an agenda President, solutions, problem solving never has been high on the list, he has however achieved quite a lot of his personal and those who hide behind the curtain’s agenda.

If he’s reelected he’ll go right on with that postmodern deconstruction battle against western civilization, taking us apart piece by piece, ever slowing us down closer and closer to the point of no return.

Its something beyond a vehement dislike, its a deep seated belief held by the 20% who are hard core liberals that to set all things right with the world we must be forced to give up much of those things we’ve un-rightly achieved, life saving drugs, Dr.s Dentists, cars, nice houses, planes, corporations, fancy phones, we are not entitled to these things, we are being harmful by using them in such abundance and methodically slowing down society is the process by which we are forced to accept the level of life we deserve. Its nutty but its what that core of statists believe.

Its not the destroying although that’s the result, its the slowing down that’s happening, a President has a great ability to turn down the energy level. If you think about all that he’s done it all fits. Drilling moratoriums, regulating us to a stand still, no job growth, ever lasting recession, they can no longer be by accident.

Remember, its only fair.

Speakup on September 6, 2011 at 8:07 PM

One Big A$$ Mistake America

maineconservative on September 6, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Dingbat63 on September 6, 2011 at 7:52 PM

I hope, for your sake, you didn’t use your real name, and that you don’t have a static IP address!!! Otherwise, dark-suited men in mirror shades will be knocking on your door soon…

Stay safe, sir, and thank you for your service.

Mary in LA on September 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Dingbat63 on September 6, 2011 at 7:52 PM

I hope, for your sake, you didn’t use your real name, and that you don’t have a static IP address!!! Otherwise, dark-suited men in mirror shades will be knocking on your door soon…

Stay safe, sir, and thank you for your service.

Mary in LA on September 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

Ditto that, Mary.

GrannyDee on September 6, 2011 at 9:15 PM

In some ways, we should be grateful he’s as weak as he is. Imagine the kinds of things he could have pushed through if he were actually good at his job. Cap and trade, illegal immigration amnesty, Porkulus II and more all could have been ours if Obama had been as good as advertised.

SukieTawdry on September 6, 2011 at 9:28 PM

In their book “Executive Thinking: From Brightness to Brilliance,” executive development consultants Morris A. Graham and Kevin Baize posit that the best executives possess strong visual-spatial thinking capacity, along with the ability to be decisive, directional and speedy — third and fourth dimensions of thinking that transcend verbal and mathematical ability.

Using the old Myers/Briggs Type Indicators, Obama would almost certainly be classified as an ESFP which, under the Kiersey temperament map is assigned the title of “Performer”. Go figure. What is really required for a Statesman/Leader is the ENTJ profile, known as the Field Marshall.

Freelancer on September 6, 2011 at 9:42 PM

SukieTawdry on September 6, 2011 at 9:28 PM

So very true — and so very scary at the same time…

OnlyOrange on September 6, 2011 at 9:47 PM

The ERA of WHITE GUILT is Officially OVER!!!

Mutnodjmet on September 6, 2011 at 9:55 PM

Dingbat63 on September 6, 2011 at 7:52 PM I hope, for your sake, you didn’t use your real name, and that you don’t have a static IP address!!! Otherwise, dark-suited men in mirror shades will be knocking on your door soon…Stay safe, sir, and thank you for your service.Mary in LA on September 6, 2011 at 8:15 PM

I write Him frequently and still travel. I wish Him no harm. We will deal with Him at the polls in Nov 2012. I do wish that He would spare his children the revelation of His incompetence and simply resign/not run. But, then He’d have to give up AF1 and the T-times and the ultimate pleasure of being able to stuff Moochelle on a separate taxpayer funded jet so that He could get 4 hours of peace.

Dingbat63 on September 6, 2011 at 9:56 PM

He’s been horribly weak in the things the country needs, and we may yet see hundreds of millions or even billions dead in a cataclysmic war, or several generations of merely large wars, as a result. But he has been terribly strong in supporting the Leftist agenda.

njcommuter on September 7, 2011 at 12:49 AM

Dingbat63 on September 6, 2011 at 7:52 PM

You still have too much regard for Turd-boy in that you think he’d do anything for his daughter’s sake. They are no less a prop than his dog. Yeah, that’s pretty cold to say, but yeah, I think that little of him.
This study doesn’t change the basic choice the Democrats have to make in 2012, although it may impact the end result. They either vote for Obama or they stay home. Actually crossing over and voting for the Republican is not an option regardless of the Republican candidate. There will be exceptions to this but only a few and the exceptions will prove the rule. The demonization of all opposition as Tea Party fascism will be effective, but it will also come back to bite them in the gluteus maximus.

SKYFOX on September 7, 2011 at 6:04 AM

Not surprisingly, Democrats still say they find The One’s leadership to their liking. Fifty-nine percent said the president has been a stronger leader than expected, while 34 percent said he’s been weaker.

Back in the day before I retired my fellow workers said they were Democrat because their Daddy voted for FDR. Then they would quietly go out and vote for Reagan. Don’t believe all you see in polls

Herb on September 7, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Obama is Carter with the added bonus of narcissism.

{^_^}

herself on September 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM