Crossroads GPS, a Republican-affiliated outside spending group, jumped into the debate over President Obama's jobs bill Tuesday, releasing a poll that showed a divided public and a web ad that indicated they will tie the relatively popular plan to the president, whose popularity has been in decline over the last few months.
Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads, its sister organization, spent heavily to frame the debt ceiling debate earlier this summer, and Steven Law, the president of both groups, suggested they will do so again on this issue.
While Crossroads officials insist they can win the policy debate on its own merits, they signalled that attacks against Obama could be more effective than going after the policies, a shift from previous debates when Obama remained more popular with the public than the ideas he was pushing.
"There seems to be a tectonic shift with the public’s attitude towards President Obama," said Crossroads president Steven Law. "During the debt limit debate… we found independents and soft Democrats were uncomfortable with his policies, unhappy with his performance but were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. What we may be seeing is the benefit of the doubt is starting to give away to real doubt."
"The president has done a clever job of developing an urbane form of class warfare… that does have resonance with some segments of voters," he said. "It’s an issue that’s not static, it’s dynamic and needs to be litigated. I think we can litigate it successfully."
GPS also issued this critique of the president's math:
Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS) today released a new survey by Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies focusing on President Obama’s jobs plan.
The survey of 800 likely voters was conducted from September 17-19. A summary memo by Bolger on the survey can be found here.
- 16 percent say the country is going in the right direction; 77% say it is on the wrong track.
- Obama has a 43% approve/53% disapprove rating, with twice the intensity on disapproval.
- Support for Obama’s jobs plan is split with 43% in favor and 42% opposed. Independents oppose by a 53-33 margin.
- Only 25% of those surveyed believe the bill should be passed immediately, while 69% believe congress should take a closer look to “make sure the ideas will work before money is spent on them.”
- After being given liberal and conservative arguments for and against tax increases on high-earners, voters split 48-46%.
“Barack Obama has spent the last two weeks selling his jobs plan, but he’s still a long way from closing the deal with the public,” said Steven Law, president and CEO of Crossroads GPS. “The benefit of the doubt that many Americans have been giving to President Obama is slowly transforming into real doubt about his ability to lead