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January 25th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Why has Obama become such a polarizing figure?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama is the most polarizing first-year president since it was first tracked in the Eisenhower era.

A new Gallup poll shows on average - 88 percent of Democrats approved of the president during his first year in office - but only 23 percent of Republicans did.

This 65 point gap for President Obama is higher than the previous record of 52 points for Bill Clinton; and also tops George W. Bush's first year gap of 45 points.

Bush's average gap for the eight years was 61 points between Republican and Democrat approval; and if Mr. Obama continues in the direction he's headed, he could be more polarizing than Bush. Go figure.

Keep in mind - One year ago, President Obama came into office with one of the highest approval ratings among post-World War II presidents. But he quickly lost most of the Republican support while maintaining that of the Democrats. And overall his approval rating has been going down.

Gallup suggests that although President Obama set out to unite Americans, the country itself has become much more partisan.

There is of course time for President Obama to turn around these numbers, starting perhaps with the State of the Union address Wednesday night.

With the Democrats' loss of Ted Kennedy's senate seat last week - even some in his own party believe the president's priority of health care reform is dead. Also, with Democrats scrambling for cover in light of November's election - many believe the president can no longer command unity in his own party.

If that's the case, it could be a real challenge for the president to push through other legislative priorities.

Here’s my question to you: Why has President Obama become such a polarizing figure?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Justin writes:
Obama said to judge him by who he surrounds himself with. Well, we see it. Socialists and Communists, and they've been trying to shove their agenda down our throats.

Jim writes:
Fortunately, in 2009 Americans did not experience a cataclysmic event or an outside threat of the sort that tends to promote unity. Critics of bailout, health care reform and more managed to make national government the evil agent. When many Americans think evil national government, they see the president's image.

Denis from Pittsburgh writes:
Pres. Obama is out-of-touch with America. He promised great change if elected. The only change is for the worse. The bottom line is that he is just another stuffed shirt. The only person that he is listening to is himself. One year into his term and he is already a lame duck.

J. from Missouri writes:
Because he is black and he is Democrat. The Republican strategy is to trash any Democrat in office. That causes polarization. And I come from a Southern state. I know there is a large minority who believe blacks should not hold office, especially the presidency.

Donna writes:
Obama has turned out to be a narcissist. He is so wrapped up in his own agenda that he doesn't listen to the American people.

John writes:
The only reason Obama is polarizing is because the right-wing and corporatists have done an effective job of misrepresenting his policies. After the 2008 election, the Republican Party had no choice. In order to survive, it had to vote as a bloc in order to derail the administration, and that is exactly what it has done.

Eugene from California writes:
Jack, I too was proud of President Obama's election but I never got that warm, tingly feeling in my leg. Americans have discovered the hard way that Obama's an ineffectual elitist as well as just another lying, pandering politician.


Filed under: President Barack Obama
soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. Donna Evans

    Obama has turned out to be a narcissist. He is so wrapped up in his own agenda that he doesn't listen to the American people.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  2. Charlotte

    Obama is so polarizing simply because the right wing in this country is a lot more radicalized than ten or fifteen years ago to the point of being foaming-at-the-mouth crazy. This radicalized right wing has always had a racial component to it courtesy of the "Southern Strategy", Reagan's "welfare queen" stories, and various other campaigns by conservative politicians. Putting a black man in the Oval is simply waving a red flag in front of these people, and they are losing their minds.

    If they weren't busy listening to their leaders, most of these middle-to-lower middle people would see that it conservative policies that have made their lives miserable, not Obama's attempt to turn around a mess that, yes, a conservative left behind.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  3. Matthew

    Obama swept into office amidst smoke and mirrors, riding a euphoric wave of sentiment almost messianic in flavor. Since then, only his most starry-eyed supporters are immune to the natural correction that must follow, when the messiah is revealed as a politician like any other.

    Santa Barbara, California

    January 25, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  4. happybluedog

    The left is not polarized. The left wants to move this country forward and execute on President Obama's "change" agenda. It's the right that sounds like a bunch of crybabys who just ate a bunch of sour grapes, walking around with sandwich boards on calling President Obama horrible names and questioning whether or not he is an American citizen. The polarization comes from Fox News, Glenn Beck, and the large corporations they shill for. I think the center-left of this country (the majority) appreciate the direction President Obama and the congressional Democrats are trying to take this country. As far as Presidents go, I think President Obama is way more uniting that GW Bush. Clinton, Reagan, and Carter were all very uniting presidents in their own way as well.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  5. James Tobin

    It is not anything Obama has done or not done so much as the decision of the Republicans in Congress to oppose everything he does or might do,

    January 25, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  6. johnfwd2010

    One factor contributing to polarization is the proliferation of "rumor mill" media, particularly those that are Internet-based. I'm reminded of those old TV westerns where the good guys are wrongly accused of murder, and thrown in jail. Then at night the townsfolk get drunk and are stirred up into a lynch mob when some bad guy starts spreading false rumors. No, I'm not inferring anything about today's tea parties, or maybe I am. Fort Worth, Texas.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  7. Patrick O.Campbell

    Because America is still a racist country and the Republicans
    are at the seat of this racial divide. Look at the comments generated by the tea partiers and not one of the Republican senators has ev er
    distanced themselves from this rhetoric.

    Patrick Campbell
    Brooklyn New York

    January 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  8. Andy M

    Why is he so polarizing? Look at the color of his skin. There are still a lot of bigots in the USA, and the nations seems to becoming more and more segregated.

    We're many years past civil rights legislation being passed, but it takes more than 45 or so years to overcome hundreds of years of racial disparities in this nation. We have a long way to go.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  9. Barry

    Propaganda works! – The Democrats have not been doing a good job at debunking the nonsense that is diseminated on the air ways by the propaganda machine, (conservative media). The conservative media have had the time and money to hone their skills and they are good at it. They no longer require facts as the starting point of a story.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  10. Ryan

    There is an old adage regarding politics that goes, "run from the left (or right), but govern from the center". The problem with Obama is that he ran from the center-left, but is governing from the far left (or attempting to do so). The current polling suggests that many did not envision the "change" that Obama promised would be so sweeping, nor would it be so polarizing. Obama has been pushing hard for a progressive, socialist agenda, and to his surprise, the public is pushing back. "Govern from the center", Mr. President.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  11. Ben P.

    Jack , the country is polorized on many issues but the healthcare discussions and negotiations were done in back room style.The deals for certain congresspeople for their votes and for union workers destroyed Obama's pledge of openess and bipartisanship. He came across as a Chicago dealer. Not what was expected of him and not the leadership needed for an issue so critical for the country.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  12. Pat - Overland Park KS

    Call me racist if you want but I really feel that a great deal of this has to do with President Obama being black. I know that the RNC has a black leader but I think that was to try and show how diversified (ha ha) the Republican Party is. President Obama can also put two well defined sentences together without sounding like some ignoramous.

    Democrats have for the most part always been the most diversified party as far as race and class.

    Republicans are not really known for the diversity nor are have they ever been know to be for the lower to middle class.

    My dad told me years ago, that Republicans are for big business and democrats are for the people.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  13. Natalie Snyder; Anchorage Alaska

    NONE of us are effectively informed – news is not trustworthy, and depending on who you listen to, all you get is a ration of fear and opinion.
    It is that fear that polarizes.
    The ultra right is worried they were wrong about him and so must adamantly opposes any positive effect he has to prove he is an evil socialist .
    The ultra left are scared he's selling out and are breaking rank.
    We in the middle are either scared Congress won't let him do what he set out to do or scared about the unknown, and the new ideas that might come out of this administration.
    Personally I have faith he is not a sellout, just working the system. I have faith in his ideals, and wish the media could manage to cover news, not such tabloid-like BS.

    I want his weekly addresses to run on major netoworks, primetime please.

    But who am I right?

    January 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  14. Kart Z.

    Obama is a polarizing figure because we have never had an African American President and because most Republicans are racists, whether they know it or not.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  15. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    I never thought Obama was ready for this job and after reading"Game Change," my belief is more firm. Opportunity presented itself and he took advantage of the circumstances. Compare it to Conan taking on "Tonight Show." He just wasn't ready for it and his ratings reflected this. Reid and the "Good Old Boys" thought they had a winner here that they could manipulate and control things. Independent thought entered the picture and it was not always for the better. Now Reid won't be returning nor Dodd and the others are running for cover. Obama did not say what he meant nor did he mean what he said and promised. The whole scheme went haywire and now the Republicans found Brown and are on the rebound. Obama will be a one term President. A very big disappointment to so many people.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  16. Mike1952

    BO is an arrogant, elitist, progressive, statist. The majority of Americans are just the opposite. That provides a huge credibility gap for BO and he does a miserable job trying to close that gap. He's been caught in so many lies it's impossible to count them.

    Little Rock, AR

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  17. Kim

    Because he has a plan for America that doesn't take into consideration what 'we the people' really want.. His presidency causes me to worry about the freedoms I now enjoy, being eroded. That scares me more than the failing economy!

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  18. Keith of Colorado

    Obama is just the lightning rod in our polarized nation of country republicans and city liberals.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  19. Michael CA

    He's a great talker but cannot deliver on promised compromise during the election. He has moved way to far left and has allowed the far left folks like Nancy, Harry and Unions to run the agenda. Unless Obama moves to the center of the road it is going to be tough times for the Dem's.

    Obama and the Dem's like to blame the previous admin for all their problems and constantly remind us that Clinton left a surplus. Well let's take a look at this. Clinton was successful only after he moved to the center and GOP took over congress and together developed the surplus. Let's not forget that the Dem's have had control pf congress since 2006, and it is under their watch that economy tanked due to lack of action by Dem's who controlled all the financial committees

    We need to stop the crazy spending, which is driving our country into unrecoverable debt and reliance on China.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  20. Dick Bender

    Before the election he masqueraded as a centrist who would unite and do away with partisan politics. Now, he has shown his true colors as a left wing ideologue who refuses to acknowledge that the country rejects his policics and agenda.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  21. benny

    Deep-seated racism of the American right wing.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  22. Bertina

    Politics has been inundated by the fickle independents. They voted Obama in office and now they want to vote him out.

    I'm curious to see if the Mass. thing is just an independent thing in that one state or if my red state will become blue in 2010. Now that would be revolutionary.

    Bertina in Georgia

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  23. Barack Obama

    I have been compared to many different presidents (FDR, Lincoln, Carter, ...), especially in terms of my cabinet choices. My cabinet is my own flavor of a Warren G. Harding-style cabinet. All of the corruption but instead of cutting taxes & spending in half, I have decided to add fees, raise taxes and dramatically increased spending to grow the economy. The approach has really been working well in Greece over the past few years and I believe that we should adopt it here.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  24. Paul Gustafson from Michigan

    During the presidential campaign – candidate Obama's energizing and uplifting speeches brought hope to Americans that rational thought and open communication could occur in Washington. I for one, believed in him and gave him my support. Since his election, it seems he is hell bent on passing (behind closed doors) health care reform at the expense of focusing on creating jobs. I've lived though nearly a decade of downsizing in Metro Detroit, watching family, friends, and neighbors lose their homes and savings. Americans need jobs now. President Obama will lose my vote if this doesn't change.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  25. Evelyn (Honolulu, HI)

    He is polarizing because
    1) America is stuck in a non-productive two party system does not benefit nor represent the views of majority of American.
    2) Majority of congressmen and congresswomen have been in office too long and no longer represent the thoughts/views of modern America.
    3) It's time for liberal and conservatives to realize that majority of Americans are progressive moderates and have views that will not limit them to a Democrats nor Republican political parties.
    4)It's time for us to stop relying on polls and talk to real people with real problems and with real ideas.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  26. Mike L.

    Never before have I seen a person that could talk of how he could change the U.S and the world for the better and not deliver one piece of legislation. His policies are no where near the center and if he moves any more to the left, I am sure he will fall off a cliff.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  27. Bubba ATL GA

    . . . because when people say they hate him because he's black, everyone backs away. But it's because he's black. Believe me, I hear them all day long.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  28. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    We got the old bait and switch. Obama ran as a moderate, but quickly went far left abandoning all his moderate campaign promises. We are still waiting for the transparency and line by line elimination of pork, instead the spending is out of control, backroom deals being cut and his governing is partisan. So much for working for ALL Americans.

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  29. JFC11222

    Over the past decade America has struggled between the myth of a Daddy Knows Best America and the reality of a multi-ethnic America which doesn't share the Norman Rockwell roots that inspired this mythology of America.

    Obama has held the mirror up to Americans and many are distressed to see a diverse society that they don't recognize looking back. The partisan politics of this age are driven by fear and by the oracles of doom who scare the people into believing that they're losing something.

    All of sudden Obama is the incarnation of that anxiety because the people realized that the change they wanted was going to include more freedoms and benefits for everyone. The right-wing feeds on this and scares white middle-class America into believing they are losing something.

    Truth is that what people think they're losing never existed. Norman Rockwell created idealized visions of America that never captured the America documented by Steinbeck and others.

    America is polarized because people can't see the other side of the transformation of America.... they couldn't see that at any point in our history either.

    With the polite veneer of American society stripped away you're seeing the same polarization that has existed since the first settlers settled these shores.

    The more things change the more they remain the same....

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  30. John

    Gee, you don't think race has anything to do with it? Or the fear generated by those "patriots" like the Teabaggers, Fox news, etc?

    January 25, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  31. Rachel

    It's because "interested parties" have set out specfically to make citizens so deeply partisan. Hackneyed yelling has replaced debate; and the louder you are, the less substance your remarks need. Obama is different (and I admit not perfect, though I never thought he was), and people get scared when there is something different about someone. And people wish to reinforce their belief systems; and will only absorb information that does this. Critical thinkers can look at information that flies in the face of their beliefs without fear; but profits and power are not readily reaped from steady thinking. The masses provide both in ample supply by the stoking of their hates and fears; and I worry for a country made so vunerable with such delight by sensationalist, partisan rhetoric. It seems that on some "news" stations certain parties can do no right, while others can do no wrong. Paraphrasing Jon Stewart, if the Democrats made it rain cookies, the headlines would read "Democrats Leave Millions Without Milk."

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  32. Amy Needham

    I think the honest answer is that a whole segment of our population can't stand it (and can't believe) that a black man is president. These people will do whatever they can/whatever it takes to make sure he fails. The larger issue is that we have lost our identity as Americans–we all identify much more with our individual demographic group (e.g., I'm a white female; I'm a democrat, etc.) than we do with our country as a whole. So, rich people (who have more control and clout in every society) can't imagine what it's like not to have health care, and they're so far from being able to imagine this that they'll fight tooth and nail to make sure the current system (that works just fine for them, thank you very much) doesn't change.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  33. Francis Ozim

    President Obama is not a polarizing figure per se.Tha republicans made it clear very early that they,the republicans do not want him to succeed under any circumstances.I'm not sure exactly why but I guess his skin color may have something to do with it.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  34. Denise

    Because Obama lied and conservatives saw this coming. He made promises that he had no intention of keeping and the only thing "transparent" about him was his obvious saying anything to get elected. Look who he associated with-communists, terrorists, anti-american hatemongers. What experience did he have? A community organizer-are you kidding? A second grader who ran a kool aid stand has more business experience than this guy! Obama thinks money comes from "the government" but we know it comes from TAXPAYERS! Conservatives got exactly what we expected with him while liberals/democrats are still coming to grips with reality. He campaigned on one agenda and is fulfilling a distinctly different agenda.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  35. Brad Smith

    Obama is polarizing because he prefers to enact and grow policies which require one American to pay for the living expenses of some other American. Many folks believe that if you didn't earn something, then you don't deserve it. Others believe in, giving a man a fish so that he can eat today, regardless of what this might mean for future generations in our society. Thus, the polarization of right vs left. One side believes in earning your keep, the other believes that each individual is owed something by society, simply for having been born.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  36. john

    The President took on too much too soon. As a result he has not accomplished any single goal. The Democratic Congressional leadership with its super majority came across as heavy handed and vindictive. This reflected on the President. Then crisis after crisis struck and President Obama became reactive instead of proactive. And last but certainly very important; the President was a player in the blame game. President Obama-if he wants to salvage his first term needs to read a little more HarryTruman and less Abe Lincoln: "If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen" and "The buck stops here."

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  37. Phil. C.

    Because too many people watch Fox News.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  38. Robert

    Well he's black so that automatically must mean that any critics are racist, right?

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  39. jim

    Because he was elected on a populist surge of support, but since his election has caved in to the demands of big business and Wall Street. The stock market is not a proxy for the United States.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  40. Joel Schlesinger

    The president is polarizing because the country is polarized. In today's environment there is little opportunity for any political figure to do much better. Our politics have become the NFL–win or lose is what matters. Time to bring back the tie game, that is, to be able to govern from the middle where there is common ground and opponents don't have to be crushed. We have met the enemy and it is us.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  41. paul rankin

    President Obama has made his own partisan bed by failing to do what he promised to do – lead. He gave Pelosi and Reid total authority to write the health care bill in their respective Houses, and then failed to complete the work before we the citizens could read it. Big mistake; the bill is a joke. He failed to object to the 8,000 earmarks in his stimulus bill. He failed to televise the health care deal making. He failed to focus on jobs. And now he is a populist? Please.

    Paul Rankin

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  42. john m

    bush was bad. obama is just worse.
    the guy that called him a liar was right.
    but that's no surprise – most politicians are.
    he's just more blatant.
    the reason people are foaming at the mouth is because virtually everyone is covering for him.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  43. Kim

    Charlotte; how presumptuous of you to'guess' why someone else might be discontented with Obama.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  44. dblzap

    Rush, Hanney, Coulter, ETC.

    They hammer him daily without even bothering to check the facts

    Add in the Drug and Insurance company's telling LIES daily with the intent of keeping the status quot.

    And the press expecting him to repair 8 years of Bush Damage and 30+ years of conservative greed in less then one year

    Its no wonder the country is divided

    January 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  45. Irwin

    The big question here is 'are Indeoendents counted?' I for one voted for him but am quite disappointed now. The Indies are the largest group now, and we want to see results, not soaring (and meaningless) rhetoric.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  46. Linda - NJ

    The most obvious reason is that President Obama is not white and people are going to judge him more harshly. Also, Americans are very afraid right now and the polarizing right wing knows how to capitalize on that fear by throwing out sound bites and getting people even angrier at the government – a government that simply does not work very well. Finally, I think President Obama is doing a good job but I also believe that he doesn't know how to explain in simple terms what he is doing and why – the sad fact is that Americans have dumbed down greatly in the past thirty years and concepts that are not explained in simple terms in a short amount of time go right over their heads. Republicans know that and speak simply and always give their followers someone to be angry at – it's a sad practice but it works.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  47. Kyle, Irvine, CA

    Jack,
    President Obama will always be a unique leader because 1) he became president at the start of a new decade, 2) He's the first African American to be elected president, and 3) He took office with the biggest recession since the Great Depression and two wars to top it off.

    His approval ratings have dropped because they were so high when he took office. He should not worry, he's got another 3 years to pass health care and the overall economy will be stronger by the time he runs for re-election.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  48. Mike (Minneapolis, MN)

    It's easy. No one gets elected by the far left or the far right. They get elected by convincing the middle to go their way. Bush got dinged because he let the far right dictate the agenda and Obama is getting dinged because he is letting Pelosi, Ried and the far left dictate his agenda. He'll turn it around if he comes back tio the middle, if not, he won't.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  49. Wilson James

    Obama is everything the talk radio /tea party right finds very threatening, a minority middle of the roader without a sleeve for religion to sit on. Obama scares the hell out of southern and midwestern whites, big business and military contractors. Not to mention the NRA. He is polarizing for who he ismore than for what he does. Scary, ain't it?

    January 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  50. Tony in The Bronx

    President Obama is 10 or 20 years ahead of his time; so, much of the electorate simply can't understand him. He is a centrist, which upsets both the far left and right. He is far more pragmatic than the average Democrat is. And he is far more able to craft bipartisan solutions than either party is capable of. The Democrats don't want to compromise and the Republicans don't want President Obama to succeed.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  51. Joe CE

    Poor staff, poor Congressional leadership, and lack of definite beliefs – hard to keep both ears to the ground even with his ears. To much ampaty for the financial sector reflected by nominating Bernake for another term, not to mention keeping Gaither. Also failure to keep campaign promises.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  52. Scott, Orlando FL

    People forget that the Republican Party, while representing only a fraction of the population maintains a single message–that Obama and the Dems are evil, hence anything associated with Obama and the Dems is evil. The Democrats, with a much larger population and their association with Independents who can't buy into the Republican agenda have a much wider range of interests to cater to in order to maintain unity. In other words, it's easier to hate anyone different from yourself than it is to figure out how to work with them.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  53. Bob - Idaho

    I think part of it stems from the power the Democrats wield in Congress. President Obama is able to pass more of his agenda due to the huge Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. This makes his platform more likely to become reality, and makes more people take his campaign promises seriously. Past presidents had the "luxury" of not being take as seriously in thier first year since they could not possibly push thier partisan agenda through a gridlocked Congress. Bill Clinton was elected with Democratic control of both houses as well. Look at his numbers.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  54. Margie W

    Jack, We might be looking at this situation in the wrong way. Yes, we are politically polarized as a country. But, let's consider the same situation if any other person was president.
    In this view, would we not all be polarized just the same?
    This country is divided between rich and poor. Rich do not care one way or the other. Poor, on the other hand, are listening to people who seem to be speaking their own language, even if the bottom line is against their own interests.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  55. John de Neeve

    President Obama took office with good intentions of working across the political aile with Republicans but he misread the extremeism of the Republican party. In his first several months of office, he extended his hand but found that they weren't extending back. The Presdient lost his patience and pulled back his hand when a Rebulican congressmen motivated his party by saying "lets insure the defeat of health care legislation and make it the Presidents waterloo". The politics of the Republican party is too focused on fear and power and has become detrimental to the ability of Congress to solve the huge problems that are facing this country. Our system of govt. is designed around the concept of compromise. We better start learning to work together especially when you look at the problems facing us, like the economy, health care,climate change, financial reform and the rise of China. I am very tired of all this infighting and I lay most of the responsibility on the Rebulican party... John de Neeve, Kalispell, Montana...

    January 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  56. Chris

    He's polarizing because he's cut out to be a "community organizer", and not a legitimate leader and President. His ratings are going to continue to drop to abysmal levels until he can prove that he has some financial savvy and capability to lead in a principle-based fashion. As it stands, he's so far left, he's not only become an anamole....In truth, he may soon find himself completely alone–reading nonsense from a teleprompter while the rest of the country is increasingly pissed with his indecisiveness and ineptitude to truly pick up and lead like we need him to.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  57. Lance Lambert

    Because President Obama has tackled challenging, progressive issues in an environment where politicians are sharply divided on the issues and voters are easily manipulated by a partisan media.

    This poll is more a reflection of the American environment over which Obama presides than an indictment of a campaign promise ... Perhaps the President overestimated the integrity of his constituency?

    January 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  58. pat o'brien

    From the moment of his confirmation, republicans set about to destroy him, and unfortunately have done a damn good job at it. Whatever he says or does is immediately scorned by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and seconded by most republicans. Democrats don't seem very good at fighting back and thus this negativity has prevailed. Meanwhile, our country is coming apart as a result of this partisian bickering. Osama bin Laden must be smiling...........

    January 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  59. Derek

    According to Obama's supporters its always going to be the "right wings" fault.

    Everyone who doesn't agree with Obama is part of the right wing conspiracy Dont'cha Know????

    January 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  60. ed

    Let's see...."transparency" hoax, "climate change" hoax, health reform is good for everyone except Congress and the unions, bailouts, stimuLESS, debt, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, etc

    January 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  61. Mike

    Charlotte,

    Are you kidding me? Were you living in a bubble the past 8 years? The foaming-at-the-mouth vitriole spewed at Bush by left wing radicals was far worse than what Obama is experiencing now.

    Democrats are reaping what they've sown. Their campaigns for the past 8 years were not proposals of better ideas, but rather: blame Bush. Every success the Democrats had in the past couple elections came at the heels of Bush as scapegoat for every world problem. And even with Bush gone for a year now, Democrats STILL are playing this card.

    You can't spend 8 years demonizing one man/party to get elected, and then magically expect unity when you rise to power.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  62. Ian Jeffrey Slavin

    I don't believe President Obama HAS become a polarizing figure. Republicans are the polarizing influence, by vehemently opposing any Democratic initiative since they lost Congress in the 2006 election. By painting anything and everything the Democrats do as extremist, they hope to win back Congress later this year. Anything the President does, short of caving in to Republican demands, would have this effect; it was, and is, unavoidable.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  63. Garry Stophel

    President Obama has done about a good a job as possibe considering the mess the Republicans left him. The GOP and their TV network "Foxxy News" has done nothing but find fault with his every move, even the many good ones. Now the Supreme Court has sided with them and big money, I guess our country is in for more hard times. I think business and banks are not hiring and banks loaning to make his job more difficult and assure putting republicans back in power with help of the uninformed and ______ american people. Democrats need to get there act together and start doing what we elected them to do. Our interest, not their own.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  64. M. J.

    I think Obama underestimated the Repubs. They are all about themselves and the big corporations that put them in their seats. Afterall what kind of a person would want to get into an office and make themselves richer and ignore the many needs of so many in this country who cannot afford basic healthcare or access the opportunity for a job that would pay for a mortgage/rent or food and utilities? Not everyone in this country wants to be on medicaid, rely on Gov't housing, or food stamps. There are young adults in this country who want to earn a decent wage and have healthcare so they can get their medical needs met to stay healthy and produce and yes even get to do some fun things once in a while.
    I agree that the healthcare bill should be taken in baby steps. For starters lets have one basic question at a time be voted on in both the House and the Senate and start with the questions, "In this recession do you think anyone in this country w/o Health Insurance should be able to go seek medical care in an Emergency room w/o being charged more than 100.00 regardless of their medical tx. need?
    As a result of this recession, should there be a halt to raise premiums for the next 3 years?
    Should television commercials for prescriptions be stopped? We need to see just how low some of these politicians can get.. and really are!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  65. John, Fort Collins, CO

    To understand why President Obama is so polarizing one needs to look no further than the health care reform debacle. The President and the Democrats in Congress totally ignored the Republican members and kissed every liberal, union, and health insurance industry butt necessary to get the bill through the Senate. He completely ignored all the middle class taxpayers who were more concerned about the economy than health care reform, creating a vacuum in the middle in the process. Many moderate voters like me who put him over the top in the presidential election have moved to the right out of self preservation.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  66. cintya

    Barak was elected to elicit change, but his platform has been very centrist.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  67. Nancy Johnson baton rouge louisiana

    If you lived in the section of the country I live in..the deep deep south, you would understand that there are two sides to every story..we are so out numbered and trying to care for ourselves and the folks that are so poor and so needy, no wonder we are overwhelmed. I don't hate anyone, I just wish this could be solved and I don't think our President understands.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  68. Laura from Boston

    Obama came in with a promise of hope and change. The problem is that change can't happen without congress being on board. The current congress will be named the newest "Do Nothing Congress". The Republicans are insanely good at sticking together against a common evil, in this case the Democratic president some have said they'd love to see fail. The Democrats have the opposite problem of never being able to stick together on an issue. Their problem is they are too idealistic. I must say, though, I'd rather be too idealistic and stand up for what I believe in than sit with a group of bitter people without a cause. And for those blaming Obama for TARP 1 (the one without restrictions on spending), that was Bush. People so quickly forget. The wars, that was Bush. The economy, that was Bush. It's easy to forget these things.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  69. Lynnette

    Obama is the most polarizing first term President because he polarizes everything. He has made no effort to work from the middle. All of his policies are LEFT to FAR LEFT.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  70. Hemal

    Jack,

    First, it's unfair to compare President Obama's first-year ratings to George W. Bush's first-year ratings. In the weeks immediately following 9/11, Bush's approval ratings stayed well over 90%, and so that skewed his averages higher. That being said, the reason Obama has such polarized numbers is because, for the past year, we have not seen nearly enough of Obama and way too much of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Obama ceded too much control of the agenda in Washington to Congress early on in his presidency and so instead of unity, we've seen sausage-making at its worst. With the Democrats feeling more beat up than Brett Favre right now, and the Republicans not managing to agree on anything except total opposition to getting any work done in Congress, this is Obama's second chance to demonstrate leadership and set the agenda in Washington. We all need somebody in Washington to remind us that they work for us and have our best interests in mind, not their own or their party's.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  71. Ted Hulick

    He polarizing because he's arrogant – so is his entire staff...

    His policies are bankrupting the country and making it dangerous...by far the stupidist thing he's done is approve a trial in New York that endangers Americans and will cost $200 million in security at a time we can't afford it.

    He's set to have a deficit at over 5 percent of GDP – this country has never seen over 2.7 percent of GDP...

    The man is over exposed and no longer credible...change should have started by broadcasting the health care debate over CSpan like he said more than 8 times...but no one wants to talk about the broken promises...

    People are hurting right now – and congress is tied on on an issue that ranks #4 with Americans – but #1 with him – being health care...

    That's why people oppose him...

    And for Bubba ATL GA – shame on you for making excuses that race is part of this – I personally am sick of people bringing that up...yea, some are racist – but most people in this country did not care the color of his skin – if he was doing a good job, people would get behind him regardless of his color.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  72. JEM

    The Republicans are doing their best to undermine anything that the Obama Administration is trying to accomplish whether it would benefit the nation or not. The absolute lies that have been told to the American people by the Right is just absolutely shameful and it's also shameful that they are buying it!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  73. B

    Charlotte, you are dead on target can't wait for the radical right wingers to go nuts on your astute observation. It seems like we're headed back in time to a less tolerant America and one genuinely divided over the color of a man's skin opposed to his character. I guarantee the majority of Teabaggers, Radical Right Wingers and less face it low income and uneducated so called conservatives (mostly white rural americans) have no idea what government is about, just what Rush, Hannity and Fixed News have brainwashed them to believe, which is contray to their bests interest if only they knew. God help us all.
    B

    January 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  74. Sal

    Jack, if the economy were in better shape and more people were working, the poll numbers would be better. This is compounded by the fact that the poor and the middle class earn less than they did 9 years ago.

    The far right political machinery is highly tuned to be critical and to spread fear and loathing – they have it down to a science. In these times of terrorism threats, foreclosures, high unemployment and an almost economic depression, the critical comments find targets much easier and it becomes trivial to fire up a lynching mob mentality. Clinton or other democratic presidents would not have as done as well as Obama.

    This is not the time for the far right to be political and to throw up roadblocks – they need to be constructively engaged. In our time of trial, we need all hands on deck! The parties need to work together to get us out of this malaise, if they don't, al Qaeda won't have to attack us to win, just wait long enough for us to kill off each other.

    Raleigh, NC

    January 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  75. LogicRules

    NO political ideology has a monopoly on truth and wisdom. Hard-liners of both parties fail to understand that. It cracks me up when left(right) wingers accuse right(left) wingers of being evil and foaming at the mouth and other such nonsense. Liberals think they are intellectually superior to everyone else, conservatives think they are morally superior to everyone else AND BOTH GROUPS ARE WRONG!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  76. Carl Justus

    The republicans are determined to make him a failed president to match Bush.

    Bush was the worst president that ever sat in the whitehouse and he will alway be. I do not believe the republicans can keep blaming Obama for stopping a depression economy. If not for the stimulus the economy would have been worse than the depression of the 1930's for there are a lot more people who do not live on farms or have gardens.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  77. johnrj08

    President Obama is a polarizing figure for three reasons:

    1. He's black.
    2. He's black.
    3. He's black.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  78. noor

    Obama is a text book President and believes by making high sounding speeches he can run the country. Utterly nonsense!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  79. Phil

    It's not that Obama himself is polarizing, it is that the two parties in power are now lead by the extremes of their respective parties. Neither of these is extremes is willing/able to govern through rational compromise. Democrats, now in complete majority power, have repeatedly gone forward with no attempt at "across the aisle statesmanship". Republicans on the other hand, as minority party, have only one card to play when trying to stop legislation that they disagree with - Filibuster in the Senate. The fallout is that independents in Massachusetts telegraphed what most of the country is feeling and telling our Congress and President– Stop acting like children and start governing our country. Obama is merely the representative of the radical left and hence "polarizing".

    January 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  80. John

    When President Obama ran for office he talked about how he was going to unite the country. Once he was elected, it all changed. He was willing to unite the country as long as everyone went blindly along and followed his agenda. If you didn't agree with his agenda, you became a tea-bagger or some other name. He has done nothing to end partisan politics.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  81. Tim

    This should not even be a question. It is painfully obvious to any of the middle class that so many liberals want to beliitle for having an opinion, that we do not want to be continuously told that we do not have the intelligence to run our own lives and make our own decisions.
    Why do people feel that it is the governments job to tell me how to live my life? It is a rediculous premise that our president and the liberal left are the only ones that have the correct answers.
    When we are told we cannot or should not bare arms and if we have a little more money than someone else that it is somehow not fair, it makes us extremely angry.
    It has nothing to do with President Obama's skin color. I believe his heart is in the right place. He cares about people. So do I. I simply do not agree with additional taxes to pay for these initiatives that are being driven down our throats by the liberal agenda.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  82. B R Long

    The honeymoon is over and Obama has broken nearly every campaign promise he made in 2008. Obama was simply ignorant as to the challenges of the job. He thought he could talk to other world leaders and convince them that he has the answers....he was wrong. Everything from transparency to Gitmo to winding down the wars has been a broken promise.

    He was a mistake and a total failure. He reminds me of Jimmy Carter....inept!!!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  83. Angie

    He is a polarizing figure because what he says is not what he does. He is not listening to what the country wants, instead, he's governing only listening to his group. He has surrounded himself with the wrong crowd. He promised transparency and that all the health issues would be covered on C-SPAN, we know what happened there. He said he didn't owe anything to any groups, and then bribes were made to the unions for their support. I want to support him now but I just can't.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  84. Harald K.

    US society now dictates who is popular for the moment and then waiting on the sidelines ready to pounce on that individual should he become too popular. You only have to look at the pop culture in this country. Being the presidentnow is no different. I believe Obama is trying the best he can, whether he is successful is yet to be determined but more than likely not. Once society tears him down, it'll be impossible for him to climb the ladder of popularity no matter what good he has done for the US and the world.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  85. Kathleen in Maryland

    President Obama has worked very hard NOT to be a polarizing figure; I can't think of a more statesmanlike President, able to admit mistakes and open to new ideas. That is precisely WHY the partisan bickering has risen to a deafening roar. Insanity and ignorance just LOVE a vacuum......

    January 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  86. Eric Concord MA

    Candidate Obama promised an end to partisan Washington. In the eightyhundredmillion speaches he's made since, not once has he missed the opportunity to remind us how he "inherited this problem," "has to repair the last eight years," bla, bla, bla, over and over. America is finally on to his inability to actually lead.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  87. Judy, Exeter, Ca

    Jack – the opposition began the day he took office. I live in a rural, and very red community. Right after the election the word " revolution" began to circulate. It is unfortunate, but there is lots of time for him to turn it around. The loss in Massachusetts was a very good indicator, and I believe he will listen now that the people have spoken.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  88. JIM El Paso Tx

    BECOME a polarizing figure??? Heck Jack from the minute he won the presidential election some people were up in arms cause "the" black man won. @ Ted Hulick..."he's arrogant".????? And what would you call the Cheny/Bush 8 years? American's have always been the type to want instant gratification and when it isn't there they go nuts. Obama will be ok as will America if we just keep our heads about us.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  89. Dave

    This may be off topic, but can anyone tell me how many jobs were created by the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts and where are they now (the jobs that is)?

    January 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  90. Joe (in Boston)

    Jack,
    You are mistaking the cause with the poll result. The poll shows that Americans are more polarized right now. That does not mean that President Obama is the one that is polarizing them. In fact, I would say that Americans are polarized despite his efforts at bipartisanship and generally centrist approach to government (that is what Gallup's findings last spring and fall showed as the trend.) Look at the Republican leadership that rejected his efforts at bipartisanship; and take a look at your competitors at Fox (if you can stand it). They and other right wing forces have worked hard on partisanship (only such spinners can argue that he has governed from more to the left than he campaigned; it is the other way around if anything). They are good at it; and its not new. Is it fair to blame one party? Think deeper about the poll results for Clinton and Bush. Like Obama, Republicans rejected Clinton from the beginning. More democrats gave Bush a chance his first year, and only learned to disapprove of him.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  91. Ken

    I agree with Charlotte that the country is much more polarized then it used to be. The growth of righ-wing talk radio is a major reason along with the success of Fox News. There is not balance on those outlets. The misinformation is just mind-bongling.

    Democrats in gereral tend to be less devisive, and the left wing of the Demcratic party is much smaller and wields much less power then the right wing of the Republican party.

    When every the Demacrats are in control it just drives the Republicans crazy and they will do or say anything to get back in power. Their strategy was to oppose anything that Obama proposed. Plan and simple the party of NO. They have been shameful!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  92. John D.

    Democrats think Republicans are racist and Republicans are tired of Democrats who think they are racist.

    The comments here prove that Democrats are so fixated on race that it only proves the deepest fears Republicans have in the donkey party. Democrats are lemmings pure and simple, regurgitating sad, vicious, hateful arguments that have no basis in reality. "70+% of Republicans are racist!" R U KIDDING!

    Most people have a hard time trusting politicians in their own party, much less someone else's. Comments like the ones you read here completely validate the lack of trust Republicans have in any Democrat of Democrat supporter.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  93. LOLA

    Pat, do you really believe that Republics are for big business and Democrats are for the people? May have been true in your Dad's time but you should pay attention to what's going on NOW and see for yourself. Democrats, with their back room deals (with industry and the big labor unions) are NOT for the people, neither are the Republicans. Here's their priorities: 1) themselves 2) their party 3) the country (if after looking after themselves and their party country even makes the list). That is why I'm a registered and acting Independent.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  94. John Mc

    Because he is so inexperienced and it shows in his naive approach to governing. Shades of Jimmy Carter!!!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  95. Bob - Royal Oak Michigan

    The country has become more polarized, not Obama. The inflammatory, conservative, radio-rhetoric gets broadcast daily, even in mainstream media. Hateful, untrue messages are propagated by ordinary Americans, blasting and passing on e-mails without much thought. The word is mightier than the sword. This war of words is dangerous to our democracy. When lies and untruths are spread like wildfire, it can demonize even the most hard-working public servants; who have our welfare at heart.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  96. Bob T. Southfield, MI

    Jack – you are assuming that Obama is a polarizing figure and that the party of "NO" doesn't choose to be "polarized" by him or the Democrats. There is nothing that Obama could have done differently to prevent the polarization by the "Republic" party. They are bitter that they lost the white house and congress and are hell bent to polarize the nation against anybody or anything that keeps them out of power. They do this with their selfish interests above the good of the people and country. If you don't believe this just listen to the nastiness of Rush and Glen and the teabaggers. We will not see bipartisanship and colloborative efforts until the Republicans are able to change their attitudes. Until then they deserve to be ignored.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  97. Conor in Chicago

    I think the biggest problem is that the solutions to the nation's problems, so it would seem to BO, require a long term strategy so as to ensure that they work properly and for a long duration. Sadly, we live in extreme times so when ever he makes a move that doesn't show immediate results he becomes the anti-christ out of nowhere.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  98. Mama Panda

    It's not Obama...it's the people in this country whose chief attitude is "my way or the highway," who don't want to think, who won't listen to anyone who doesn't already agree with them, and who are far better informed about celebrities than the affairs of the the nation.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  99. Ken in NC

    He is so polarizing because so many like and want to see his ideas implemented while there so many on whose radar he is at the top that want to see him fail and would do anything to cause his failure.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  100. Landrim

    Obama and his policies are leftist. This is still a center-right country. What do you expect?

    Georgetown, MA

    January 25, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  101. cy gardner

    Because sane people and Republicans are poles apart. cy from arlington,va

    January 25, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  102. JD

    Aw come on Jack! We are polarized because the right wing never was going to accept him as president. It was not going to happen, won't happen, and nothing will get done. His own party hasn't supported him as they should, but then, we as voters, want all our problems solved NOW, we will always blame the guy in power even if we expect the inpossible. The right wing will sit there and criticize and say No to everything, and then we the voters, somehow think this is just brilliant and they must have the answers. Of course they have none, and they've done an incredible job of muddying and health care debate. Do we need health reform, hell yes, but as usual, it becomes , dare I say it, a "liberal" issue – imagine that, liberals must believe in helping people, but we don't want that. It's too bad because I truly believe he has good ideas, just too many things going wrong and in truth, congress is full of idiots and always will be. You have to be missing some screws in order to want to be in congress!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  103. Don from Belleville, Canada

    Because he promised to mold America into Utopia. Once elected, millions got foreclosed but corporate America got bailed out with money borrowed from future generations. President Obama now seems to have qualified his promises. What he meant was that the new Utopia was for the banks only.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  104. Shane

    Because people are idiots. Republicans, Democrats, all of them.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  105. Alex in Canada

    The reason why Obama is so polarizing is because in this day of blogs, Twitter and everything else, people seem to have lost the art of subtlety. Either someone is God walking the earth, or he's the Antichrist. America (and much of the world) is working with extremes these days, with little gray area. It's not just Obama bashers and gushers who are this way. Look at supporters and opponents of Sarah Palin. Love or hate her, there's no in-between, it seems. Even Trekkies can't seen to find a middle ground anymore – they either love the new movie or they think it's an abomination.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  106. Dimslie

    If Gallup thinks that Obama is trying to bring us together but, the country is just becoming too partisan, Gallup is an idiot. The only way Obama is going to bring us together is by the bloodbath that Democrats are going to suffer at the polls in November. At that point, we'll all hate him.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  107. Patty A Banks Palmdale CA

    It's not Obama thats polarizing us, it's the polls that are polarizing us!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  108. WILDA

    The Democrats play to the liberal and the poor. The Republicans play to Corporate America, radical conservatives and to hell with the nation. Nothing is getting done by Congress, and the future of our country is at stake. President Obama is caught in the middle.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  109. Gary Streeting

    Part of it is Obama's fault, and part of it isn't. The nation became very polarized during the G.W. Bush years. A lot of people thought Bush got a raw deal. They were going to do everything the could to turn that around on any democrat that was elected. It hasn't helped that Obama really has not done a spectacular job since taking over.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  110. nick

    One reason........

    BUSH

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  111. Bill Ledbetter

    The polarizing qualities of President Obama are first, second and last because he is a Democrat, race aside (though THAT is certainly a salient point). The hard right and hard left in this country rally with such intensitive (though I'd give the hard right the edge on this) that a President from the opposing party has little chance.

    However, it is the fact that its taking the President longer to get the country moving forward again that is the truly polarizing issue. Were he have been able to fix 8 years of mismanagement from the previous administration in his first 12 months, his approval ratings would still be through the roof. But Americans are fickle and short-term oriented. If it doesn't fit within the scope of an hour-long programme on tv, then can't be bothered:)

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  112. Liberal wingnut

    Obama ran as a moderate not a left wing socialist Marxist! Keep your change!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  113. Traci

    Obama, along with Reid and Pelosi, are trying to force a far-left agenda on basically what comes out to an average moderate (or perhaps right-moderate) country. Throw in the racial equivalent – and I don't mean the statements posted here that "Republicans are racist," but rather the race-bating that Obama and his supporters throw out – and it makes a bad situation even worse. As a former Democrat, now Independent, just because someone does not agree with Barack Obama DOES NOT make someone racist or a bigot. As long as that keeps getting thrown up, I can guarantee things will continue to get worse.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  114. Bianca

    It's not that Obama is the most polarizing President, it's just that America is more divided than ever. We've become a nation of Red States and Blue States with very little common ground between them.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  115. Bruce from Bloomington Illinois

    There are a couple of reasons, Jack. First of all, it is a trend... one which the media helps to sustain since they love playing gotcha on both sides of the political aisle. There is no news story in publicizing attempts at moderation. Bush and Clinton also suffered from polarization.

    The other reason, specific to O'Bama, was his promise to be different. The deal making that came to light in the Health Care Bill, the secret negotiations, etc, disappointed a lot of people, myself included. The President would be far better off following his instincts which is what got him elected, as opposed to handing Ship of States rudder over to Pelosi and Harry Reid.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  116. Phillip Stevens

    I am struggling with one of two explanations for the increasing polarization. Either, "Pride comes before the fall", or "Let's blame it on Bush". Both appear to have great momentum during this "change" to Democratic Rule. Our President has absolute control over the image he is growing with "we the people". I truly believe that our President can reverse this disturbing trend by simply doing what he said he would do, during his campaign, which is to reach across the isle and eliminate this bipartanship. We have had enough of this, with Republicans and Democrats.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  117. Sean

    Simple: He believed the press that he had realigned the electorate (thinking that the people moved from right-of-center to left-of center). Where the reality was many right-of-center voters wanted him to post-partisan. Then he delegated his agenda to Congress whose loudest voices were liberal and partisan. His first major piece of legislation (stimulus package) was handled in a very partisan manner and full of liberal agenda items.
    He should have stayed in control of his agenda, taken a clear stand on hot issues (especially where he could show compromise on issues that were important to the GOP) and told BOTH parties to knock some heads and get the votes.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  118. Morris

    President Obama is a change agent. It is known that human beings tend to avoid change when possible. The President has taken on a mulitude of issues, all of which require change. I sincerely believe this pushes people away from a person (the President) whom they would normally accept. Politics from both the Left and Right distort what the changes are and what they mean. These issues are over complicated for the average citizen (let alone politicians)...President Obama is the face of the Nation and the complications we face. Therefore, he represents the issues and changes associated. Citizens no longer find him comforting.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  119. Mary

    As long as we have hate talk radio and hate talk cable news stations, this country will be divided. Period

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  120. Michael, Springfield VA

    Based on the approval rating numbers you quoted it seems that Republicans are less tolerant of black presidents than they are of white presidents.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  121. Jason

    You eventually become a product of you environment.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  122. John

    Jack the answer is simple – a lot of people want him to fail, regardless of what happens to this country, due to preconceived notions about President Obama.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  123. Manuel J.

    I'm an Hispanic male, and I vote. Consequently, I fit the demographic typically supportive of the president. However, I'm also educated (M.S. in engineering) and keep abreast of events.

    When Mr. Obama was running for office, he promised that he would use election funds provided by the government, instead of special interests or from other groups. He promised this to "We the people" and to McCain. At that point, I lost all respect for the man.

    Granted, all politicians are deceitful but this was blatant. He promised no more backdoor deals and an end to business as usual.

    I believe there is a need for healthcare reform. However, during the last month or so of '09, there were plenty backdoor deals going on to force government healthcare down our throats. There was no transparency. All the things this president spoke for, he has trampled and simply lied to us.

    Is he different than other politicians. Not really... but when one sets such high moral expectations, they should strive to come close to pursuing them.

    Best Regards

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  124. Brian from Colorado

    President Obama is not polarizing, it is simply the radical right wing showing their true colors, or lack of. You can take the Man out of the Klan, but you can never take the Klan out of the Man. This Country still has a long way to go.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  125. Johnnie from Florida

    Because the majority of America is still holding on thier Racial views

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  126. The Truth

    He blames Bush for everything and will not take credit for anything. He was voted in because 98% of the black vote went to him. Now that is racist. Vote because he is black.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  127. Jim E.

    Deliberate misrepresentation and out right lies about the president's positions and intentions in supposedly "Conservative" media are straining the national bounds of mutual respect and toleration for different views. Earlier presidents back to Washington faced excessively partison, mean-spirited criticisms. Our nation will survive the current irrationalities as they did. But I wonder, is there a breaking point beyond?

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  128. American

    A few very smart, persuasive radicalized right wingers are leading "Republicans" by the nose – frankly, because they are too ignorant to realize it. They have good blue collar workers screaming for tax cuts for millionaires! They have the uninsured screaming out against health care reform. I guess I'm an elitist (or perhaps just educated) but I think it boils down to a lot of stupid people being hoodwinked into thinking that Obama is some kind of evil villain – c'mon – really?

    January 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  129. Allen B

    Because of the constant barage of the hate mongers on the air. Free speech is one thing, but when it's filled with lies and half truths then we need some balance. Perhaps the media could help in this regard.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  130. Tucson Bob

    The Republicans seem to be much bigger sore losers than Democrats and their negative attitude has been very damaging to the country's unity. They just can't seem to give anything a chance to work.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  131. Daniel

    Americans are just too stupid and lazy to actually pay attention to what is going on (or not going on) in Washington. Rumors are just fine to us, they're easier. We truly deserve to not have health care reform. We should have to pay more and get less for health care. We are that dumb. We deserve to have the do-nothing politicians and the screwed up political system we have. It will only get worse until we hit rock bottom. Only then will we realize we have to actually change what we do and how we do it. Not the right or left ways, the move forward and get it done way.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  132. Richard Curren

    Democrats know that President Obama was handed a mess made from eight years of incompetence and corruption. Republicans disapprove of any change from the Bush / republican model of increasing American suffering to pay for tax cuts to the rich. Thus creating a deeply polarized voting base.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  133. Conor in Chicago

    It's because everybody believes what they want to and hide in their idielogical corners with hardly any true exposure to their political opponents. It's a scary thing when you have two sides convinced they are right.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  134. Dave in Illinois

    Obama had too many "read my lips" promises in his center left campaign which have now been "thrown under the bus" for political expediency to try to pass a far left agenda.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  135. Joan Jackson

    Obama is arrogant and wants to run everything. He has taken over the automobile industry (Government Motors) wants to take over the health care industry, run our energy companies and lets the unions make policy because he is beholden to them. Our country is going down the drain. We owe a big debt to Ma. for giving us Scott Brown. He is our hope.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  136. Michael Wishnowski Winnipeg, Canada

    Go figure Jack. Personally I think Americans have let him and themselves down. All those people who wanted change-he campaigned on all of these things you seemed shocked that he is trying to do-seemed to have forgotten the last 3 years. The problem is the US has more whiny dooshbags (polite spelling) per capita than all other nations combined. Hypocritical, racist and uneducated. That's the picture the US is leaving outside the borders. I saw a report on BBC news that wondered why Americans don't see what the rest of the world has been seeing all along. You have a smart man trying to show dumb people a new way to make fire and they'd rather get burnt old school by the GOP. As far as his own Dems-selfish fools only concerned with winning elections-not advancing Americans. Too good of a man to be president of such a crappy country. Y'all get what you deserve and in a couple of years you can start dropping bombs on presumed enemies again. Isn't that what we all like? Fools

    January 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  137. Jeff

    Obama got my vote because I was so sick of Republicans destroying the country. Now I regret acting on my hate for the Republican party because my feelings for the Democratic party are no different. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to vote third party just in spite of republicans and democrats or if I will be open to listen to all the candidates and just pick the one who makes most sense. I know I'm a moron for voting the way I did so you don't have to criticize me.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  138. Nebal

    Dear Jack,
    Obama's constant spending was the start of Republicans going against the president. Like the in stimulus and the Health Care Reform the Republican party just stopped at the price and stopped caring about what it was being spent on and like Rush Limbaugh said, they want Obama to fail. Many really just want a seat in the midterm election, and they do that by telling the people that Obama's spending too much, and hiding what Obama's spending on. And sadly, it's working.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  139. Rich P

    Obama promised to change the status quo in Washington. He has not been able to deliver the change and bi-partisanship he promised. His intent was admirable but his execution failed. The leaders in the House & Senate did not help him either. It's the same old stuff, but with a different party.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  140. Clint from Tulsa

    Simple, because republicans refuse to go along with anything a democrat fights for good, bad or otherwise; even if they previously fought for or agreed with the argument themselves. Just look at this 'conservative purity' test some republicans were trying to force, they argued that if you were a true conservative you should be against Obama's agenda no matter what it is. Unfortunately, much of the conservative population simply follows that philosophy like sheep.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  141. john

    He is polarizing because he is the first blatant communist that has been in the White House.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  142. Sue From Idaho

    It's difficult to be all things to all people. His promises have not been fulfilled and may never be as he started out with so many obstacles. Let's keep the faith that we will see an upturn in jobs and a stable economy. He was left with a mess and I still believe we are better off with him than we ever would have been with Mccain.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  143. Gary Dworkin

    It's the GOP's fault.
    They oppose everything the President proposes.
    Gary Dworkin
    Fort Worth,TX

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  144. James

    Charlotte, socialism is radical, being conservative is not. The government is intevening in more private and social arenas than ever before. O'Bama is a puppet to the rest of the seasoned Dems in this country and even THEY are beginning to shy away from his agenda. He is simply too far left. What happened to all this "bringing right and left together" talk? He has done nothing but divide the sides more and push independents towards the right side of the aisle. What is he going to do when he loses the power to pass any legislation after more Republican victories in November???

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  145. Marie

    How can we have such short memories? When Obama was elected, he talked about all of us working together. At the same time the Republican leaders announced that they were going to work to make him and his policies fail! ...and now they say that HE is polarizing!!!!!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  146. James

    President Obama is not a divisive President. The Republican party had no intention of ever participating in any bipartisan agenda. They have been determined from the beginning, that Obama's policies would fail. They want the power back, and nothing will deter them. The real failure is in the Democratic Party, who naively thought that they could count on Republican support for anything. They need to stand up and fight for the America they believe in.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  147. Molly

    Seriously, you need to ask this question? The Democrats could never harbor the bare hatred that the right wing of America harbors toward anyone who is not just like them. Barack Obama is black, and most right wingers are not. Question answered.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  148. William Smith Sr

    Jack,

    Whats so hard to understand--he is not up to the job.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  149. Dave, Macon, GA

    Jack, the right wing knows how to inspire hate in people. When those people opine, a lot of the nation listens. At the end of the day, past all of the propaganda and misinformation that the GOP spews, they're really just trying to convince the working person to give them back their power.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  150. Kathy

    Obama is trying to be bipartisan, but the right finds it in their self interest to be polarizing. The media spends too much time talking about the Republican talking points. Why are you letting the right control what you talk about?

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  151. Orlando Davis harriburg, pa

    divide and conquer Jack. you see as long as all these elected officials stall everything or just say no to everything without offering any ideas causing a bottle neck in everything. it makes the president look as though he doing nothing to fix anything. if he would call these elected officials out by name and let the world know exactly who's doing what and why and get rid of all the out of touch bums he has surounding him, he wouldn't have this problem

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  152. aliou Jacksonville Florida

    Jack, it's not obama who is polarizing. It's the republican party that has become very polarizing. It's set out to say no to everything the president and the democrats do. When faced with the choice of Supporting this president and congress to save this nation from the crisis they created, or to obstruct consistently for the benefit of their party, They chose their party over the nation.
    I hope all of us would remember that in the voting boxes.
    I would vote for any democrats except the blue dogs. Republicans have the time to turn around but the president doesn't have the time to keep following them in their madness.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  153. William Gaskill

    President Obama is no different that the majority of politicians: he consistently underestimates the intelligence of the average American.
    Despite his administration’s best rhetoric to the contrary, he is a left of center, fringe-oriented Democrat determined to institutionalize policies and procedures that go against the very nature of our constitution. Charisma got him elected; it will not allow him to bully the American public into accepting policies and laws that are contrary to our basic freedoms granted to all by the Constitution.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  154. Chris G

    As far as I can figure Obama has been a polarizing phenomena only because the Republicans are sore losers. He has betrayed almost everything he promised liberals and continued to champion Bush W's policies on TARP and Iraq.

    For us on the left, he has forsaken gay rights, abandoned prosecuting torturers and continues the secretive policies of the Bush W era.

    What does the Right have to be actually complaining about?

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  155. Bill H

    Yes, he's polarizing. What your numbers hide is the fact that Bush, while not polarizing, was just not liked by anyone. I'd rather be Obama with his current approval ratings and a following from some than Bush who was universally disliked by 68% of us. Yes, Bush brought the country together – in universal cry for ANYONE ELSE to be our president.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  156. Barbara

    If, every time the President tries to fix, change, improve something – which, in my opinion has been a lot this first year – and the opposition oppses EVERYTHING; then, I have to ask, who is it that's doing the polarizing? Just to name 2 examples; The defiant tactics of the Republican's House and Senate over Healthcare bill (I'm 62; no healthcare, can't get healthcare and Thank God I'm healthy!) and, another, the Boycott by the Republican's of the Committee to discuss climate change legislation.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  157. Pierre

    Jack. The media has caused the Polarizing of the public..The media has passed fault of the reckless policies of the republicans on to Obama...blaming him for extending the bailout that Bush created..Not being factual in your reports and making republicans explain themselves and not being balanced in clearly analyzing the constant untruths coming from his opponents I myself am disgusted by the bailout but I also know that if Obama didnt continue and the economy collapsed, He would also be blamed...Has he not attempted to work with republicans or not...its very difficult to tell because the media just shows the opponents rambling...so its no wonder that each side believes what they want...You guys are not doing your job..

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  158. Donna

    From day one the GOP had one and only one agenda item: Do whatever it takes to stop President Obama from accomplishing anything. And that's exactly what the lockstepping Party of No has done. They block voted 'no' at every turn, walked out of meetings, mounted massive propaganda campaigns (with a lot of help from right wing front groups). The problem isn't that President Obama hasn't worked at making necessary changes, it's that it's difficult to do when your opponent morphs from stumbling block to brick wall. If the country wants progress, they can clear the logjam but shoving the GOP out of the way.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  159. Mark

    Why? Because he's been a horrible President. Most rational folks do not like weak leaders.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  160. Terry, Georgia

    ...It is more of a backlash because he's doing business as usual – especially with the Stimulus money. People can't be fooled by what they see – and that is roadwork done by illegals hired by contractors breaking the law. Do you know anyone who has gotten stimulus money except bankers and people who know how to run the maze of bids with outsourced labor and scabs?

    January 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  161. Mike Oklahoma City

    America is very Polarized. I think that most people have given up on the mullets in Washington all together and those that still claim one of the two parties do so because they care about one of the Wedge issues they throw out every election year and they are going to stand by that.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  162. Tracy from Bullhead City, AZ

    It is not because he's black... it's because he is inexperienced and doesn't know what the hell he's doing. I say if the progressive liberals want such change in the USA – why don't they sedece from us and ruin their own country.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  163. Ken Becker

    Because the Republicans have decided that whatever Obama is for, they are against. Since they no longer have the majority, their only goal is to inhibit, in any way they can, any of Obama's or the Democrat's initatives. They want Obama and the Democrats to fail – that is their sole focus – not working together WITH the Democrats for the good of the country. Perhaps I have missed something, but I still have not seen an actual Republican plan for Health Care reform. They are ALL against the Democratic plan...OK, so let's see THEIR plan.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  164. Overby from Melbourne

    I guess we've all figured out Bush did what he did out of plain ol' bungling. What Obama has done is outright lies ( partisanship, health care debates on C-Span etc ) and the fact that this country is made up of people that believe in capitalism and getting ahead, not Obama's belief that everyone should be at the same level. He's making it so that people are finding it hard to come up with a reason to be successful and get ahead if Obama is going to tax them relentlessly for doing well.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  165. Char

    Jack,

    All I know is that I worked for Obama and believed his promises. We we were told more than once by Obama on the campaign trail to not allow ourselves to be "hood-winked". Well, guess what? We've been hood-winked. So many broken promises. To think I actually believed in this man. Just like with Bush, I've stopped listening to him. – – – Char, Ohio

    January 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  166. Pat Cook

    Your own comments say that Obama initally set out to unify the country. Nothing could be further from the truth. He very carefully hid what he was and what he intended to do – a nice way to say he lied – I assume with the hope that there was enough cool aide left for the full eight years. He is polarizing now simply because those who mistakenly elected him can no longer believe or pretend that he is the centrist he claimed to be during the campaign – the curtain is now pulled in Oz and we are left with this far left nut mired in such gross political sleaziness that even Republicans are embarassed for him and the country.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  167. Darren in Dallas

    2 reasons:

    1) FOX News and their 24 hour a day twisting of the truth.

    2) Because of the "instant gratification" needed by a large percentage of the American people. Obama inherited this country in the worst shape it has been in 50 years and yet people somehow expect him to wave a magic wand and undo 8 years of disasterous governing overnight.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  168. Brian in Texas

    The polarization is more a reflection of the electorate than the President. With the Democrats controlling the House and Senate, it's only natural that Democrats would be pleased and Republicans not. The pulse of the independent voters would be far more indicative of Obama's success to this point.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  169. JJG

    Why is Obama such a polazing figure –That's an easy one

    First the Republicans don't like him because he is a Democrat
    Next the Republicans don't like him because he does not look like them or like the founding fathers
    Third the Republicans don't like him because their last president was the most unpopular president ever when he left office. The Republicans can't stand another worst ever after NIXON
    Fourth the Republicans don't like him because their guru–Rush Limbaugh (a three time divorced, ex drug addict) said he wants OBAMA to fail.)
    Fifth The Republicans don't like him because he is going after all of their rich Republican Banker friends who almost caused a World Financial collapse.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  170. Art Fine

    Because Americans can't stand hubris, if not with the president himself , than the attitude he has allowed his party to have and demonstrate so well in Nancy Pelosi's response to Massachusetts of wanting to quickly get done what they want to do before the electorate can stop it.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  171. Libertarian

    Obama is hated by liberty-lovers because his policies are all about killing the liberties guaranteed in the US Constitution & the Bill or Rights.
    Want Proof: He seeks to increase the power of government instead of proposing the elimination of the so called Patriot Act. He seeks to give more power to the private Federal Reserve Bank instead of neutering it and returning to Constitutional money. (of course Lincoln & Kennedy tried that and got the message to not mess with bankers). Because he rewards the bankers who gave him his power, and seeks to bankrupt the middle class. George Orwell, 1984, could not have believed the extent of the double-talk that a Federal Government could generate.
    O'B is hated because he stands against everything that good and right about this great country.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  172. Russell Paschal

    Pres. Obama is simply in over his head. You can't take a community organizer and make him the PRES. OVER THE MOST POWERFUL NATION IN THE WORLD. On top of that he has surrounded himself with incompetants and crooks. Take a look at his top advisers and the congressional leaders. Most of these people should be in prison. Look at the top IRS man. A tax cheat himself. What a mess Washingtons in.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  173. Tim LeVier

    Wow. Tons 'o Comments.

    I'll give it a try:

    Two things bring humans to action when it comes to politics. 1) War. 2) Change. Bush was able to go to war because of an inciting incident. Obama didn't have an inciting incident to cause change. Further, he ignored human nature to resist change and did not tread lightly.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  174. Mike Herlt

    There is a very simple solution to the stalemate that has plauged Washington lawmakers for the last 10+ years. VOTE OUT ALL INCUMBENTS. DO NOT VOTE FOR UNCHALANGED SEATS. Send them all home.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  175. Tom Z

    The US has become polarized by radicals on both sides of the political spectrum over the last decades. But the right has become more radicalized than the left, and they definitely have a better attack machine than the left does.

    The funny thing is that besides a few things like health care, Obama's administration has made few changes to what the Bush administration put in place. It doesn't matter who the dems put up – they will be targeted by the better-organized right wing propaganda machine. And the left-wing propaganda machine can't get out of first gear.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  176. Barbara Jackson

    The President is damned if he does or if he doesn't. It would be interesting to see where the United States would be today, if there had not been some intervention by the present administration. It appears to me that the country was on a downward spiral and there were no attempts to block it by the Republicans. The man has been in office only one year, how quickly we forget that he inherited this mess that was made by whom over how many years and receives no recognition for positive things that have been accomplished. I haven't seen any efforts to reach out by the other side either.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  177. Patricia

    I don't think it is Obama who is polarizing. This country is known for its freedoms–not for its education, culture or sophistication. People believe what they want-not what is factual.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  178. AJL

    Look at actual vote counts and not at electoral votes and you will see why President Obama is considered a polarizing figure. The vote count was about 52% – 48% in favor of the President. Add to that the immediate commentary from the conservative media about hoping that he fails. The only way to keep him to a one term President is to maintain a very vocal, very negative commentary as long as possible.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  179. Lansing Bruce

    It's race, politics, race, age, race, jobs, race, government intervention, race, distrust, race, backroom deals, and yeah, did I say race.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  180. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Jack, I'm sorry, did you say "BECOME???"
    Candidate/President Obama has had STRONG supporters and detractors, all along. The fact that some of the support is waning as the President continues to come up short on delivery of his promises is no big surprise.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  181. Brent

    Obama ran for the presidency on a platform of hope and unity – clearly elusive and vague concepts. Not surprisingly his results are both elusive and vague. He has not done anything concrete to shut up his detractors, nor could he leverage what was, until very recently, a filibuster-proof Congress to implement healthcare reform. If he can't unify his own party to pass his most important domestic agenda item, how could he possibly unify the country? So what is Obama's response to losing control on the healthcare issue? Tax cuts!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  182. Charles Boucher

    Obama has polarized the electorate in the extreme because he inherited the worst situations for both the domestic economy and for U.S. foreign policy and global perception since the 1970's. Combine that with the U.S.'s relentless march toward an idiocracy and a reality TV attention span, and you have a country that is throwing the President under the bus because he failed to right in 1 year that which it took 8 years to destroy.

    Wake up America – running the country is not an episode of American Idol – it will take longer than one programming season to fix.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  183. Michael

    I think the fact that he is black is beginning to weigh on some peoples minds buttressed by the knife sharpening of his dedicated political opponents and expresses itself in what seems to the eye as legitimate opposition when it is salted with other intentions.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  184. Fla Jimbo

    President Obama is polarizing because:
    1. Southern Repugs hate blacks
    2. He's a well-spoken black that doesn't play the race card (Big curveball!)
    3. The insurance lobbyists "own" congress
    4. He might just have the right answers–that's really scary

    January 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  185. ajk68

    This racism stuff is a bunch of malarkey. I've lived with people of just about every ethnic/racial group. Still, I am strongly opposed to the policies Barack Obama would like to implement – most notably health care overhaul. The Republicans opposed health care reform with Hillary, why is it suddenly racist just because Obama is in office? Stop the rhetoric, it just widens the chasm.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  186. Sara

    President Obama came to Washington without a Polarizing Bone in his Body.......GO FIGURE. Fired Up and ready to go!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  187. Steve Pierce

    Jack,

    I'm not so sure you can hang any of the blame on President Obama for polarization, when you have a republican party that is doing every thing possible to block recovery & progress. They have unified around one idea & that is simply to attempt to deny the president any degree of success. Their constant attacks are having an impact on a confused & increasing despondent public Why are republican's behaving this way? I'd say they are bitter about not being in charge anymore. During the Bush era they got used to being in the driver's seat. Why else? There's something about this president they just don't like. It's visceral, but I strongly recommend they get in touch with it, before they ruin this country.

    Steve Pierce
    Turlock, CA

    January 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  188. Graham

    Pittsburgh, Pa
    It's not Obama who is polarizing as much as it is the country that is polarized. A large part of this has to do with the fact that the Baby-Boomer generation (I'm one of them) has been a polarizing generation since the beginning, especially since we were told not to trust anyone over 30. The history of Baby Boomers in politics has been one of increasing polarization, especially once one Boomer (Clinton) became president, and another (Gingrich) became House Speaker. In democracies, government is always a reflection of the electorate. With that said, the Democrats and the Republicans, both with Boomer leadership, will also interpret election results in a divisive way, thinking that recent Republicans wins means that the country wants us to move back to the right. That would be a mistake. What the country wants, especially younger voters, is a government that works together for the betterment of both the present and the future. Both Obama and McCain ran on that promise. Neither party is delivering on that promise

    January 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  189. Sharon

    Let's get real Jack. If President Obama was a white President Obama he would have gotten a lot more things done. The Democrats and Republicans are dragging their feet. Obama is trying to bring this country together and unfortunately there are those that are against him. They don't want to work with him. You know Jack that not only does Jim and Jane Crow still exist among everyday people. But in the Congress and Senate as well. Now days they don't wear hoods. Just two piece suits.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  190. Joe from Michigan

    If President Obama is polarizing, I think it's because of a lot of misinformation floating around; Republicans are pandering to the American people's fears; The economy sucks and some Americans wants the Obama administration for it; there are philosophical differences between the 2 parties, and it's playing out for the whole world to see; and, the list goes on. President Obama inherited a huge mess and we want instant solutions. Obama warned us shortly after he took office that there would be no instant solutions, but we want them. The Bush administration failed to address the national debt issue. If anything, they added to it.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  191. J Anderson

    President Obama is a classical example that perception and reality are not same. He was an extreme liberal in Illinois with everything he was involved in. During the campaign he promoted himself to be a centrist reaching out and promoting a goal of bringing everyone together(poor, rich, middle class, all races). Well that image got him elected (sorry no help from me) but now the true agenda has come to the surface the first year. The reality is he is trying to govern by promoting a strong leftist liberal policies who think everyone who does not agree with there political agenda is dumb and needs someone(government) to take care of them. "We The People" have been speaking out since late spring to no avail that we are headed in the wrong direction and it's hard to believe it took an election in Massachusetts by a guy driving around in a pick up truck to finally get his attention. As a country we are better than this..now that he see's our concern I pray that President Obama will reset his agenda and work with all of us to get this "Great Country" back on its feet with jobs and financial security. No one want's our President to fail regardless of party or non party affiliation. We are founded on a Democracy and if our President fails, then all of Americans have failed.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  192. Luci - Illinois

    Charlotte is on track. This country is going the wrong direction because of the Republicans spouting hate and lies. If they would only realize that President Obama is working for the people not for himself. He is a very good abd hard working person. The Repubs are so self centered, instead of right leaning, they will say whatever it takes to line their pockets. How about the Republican Lt. Governor from So. Carolina that Rick S. was talking about. The guy says that we should not feed or help the poor because they are like animals, they go out and breed. Wonder what we should do, let them starve?
    So. Carolina must have a bunch of nuts running the state.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  193. Buster

    Folks, don't confuse conservatism with Republicanism. Conservatism is a set of priniciples applied to economics, politics, and even social values. It evolves slowly, certainly not at the pace of the election cycle. The majority of Americans – all of us – can find pieces of conservative philosophy that we believe in.

    Republicanism, on the other hand, is a mishmash represented by whatever actions and statements the party and its members happen to espouse at any particular time. It may or may not reflect conservative tenets, just like being a Democrat doesn't necessarily make you a liberal. Many Republicans corrupt conservatism (see George Bush).

    January 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  194. Theresa

    I wonder who is advising him in his choices of advisors . It also just seems as if his opponents like to play tug of war!

    January 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  195. lynne j.

    Because those in his own party by fooling around with the health care and not taking the initiative when the other party says something stupid.

    Add that to the fact that there are still some in this country, some that belong to his party and the other who still can't get over that a black man is in the Oval Office.

    Let's face Jack, that is the entire problem with him. Nothing else. Hillary wouldn't have it this bad.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  196. Merrick

    Obama is polarizing because he is so radically left, while Americans are an inherently conservative people. For the election he tried hard to appear moderate, but it is becoming increasingly clear that he wants government involved in nearly aspect of the economy and social life. America was founded on the supremacy of individual liberty over government intrusion. Obama's attempts to socialize everything can only succeed at the loss of individual liberty. It has nothing to do with race and everything to do with his attempts to graft marxist-style central planning on American freedom.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  197. Donald

    Because the media (including CNN) gives more attention to the people who want Obama to fail than to the majority of people who support him.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  198. Chethan Prabhu

    It does not matter what the democrats or republicans think...it is what the independents think. The mid-term election will show that the independents are mad at everyone in congress now – republicans and democrats. Anyone with an IQ greater than 50 (which excludes both republicans and democrats) knows that it is not Obama's fault.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  199. James

    He became polarizing because he decided to purpose changes that takes away from rich industries. It is not hard to polarize someone who goes against industry that spend hundreds of millions on lobbying alone (like the healthcare industry).

    January 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  200. Citizen

    The only change that people wanted from Obama was for him to simply put, not be Bush. His demeanor alone could inspire hope then. Sadly he misread the signals and listened to his own party radicals in believing that people wanted radical change.
    He thought he had a creme pie issue on healthcare that everyone would rally around and love him for. His poor lack of understanding on how Americans think did not anticipate the offence that even people in his own party would take at that proposed change. This is a basic disconnect with American thought that he will have to overcome. It comes from being an American raised by foreignors, and it will cripple him in his dealings withthe people. Sadly he also forgot that while everyone will chime in that they support "Change" deep down most people fear change in all of its forms. In the ancient world wishing interesting times of change on people was a curse. Ultimately people will trust the devil they know over the devil they don't know. Obama would be wise to remember the lessons of history.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  201. texasoutlaw

    Well said Charlotte, it's been the Republican lying machine that has turned a lot of these middle of the road republicans against Obama. Race has something to do with it as well. Things like they are going to pull the plug on grandma statements have scared the heck out of some people. The media doesn't help much either. Writing stories that people are turning on Obama gets viewers attention. The press needs to do a lot more fact checking, but they don't care about the facts, they only care about ratings.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  202. suresh

    Jack:

    It is simple. He is African American and certain population of our country just cannot accept being led by a black man. If you look at his policies, especially the health care reform, they are good for majority of the people, even for the ones that are protesting with tea parties. It is definitely the racial element. Otherwise why would so many Republicans say they want to see Obama fail?

    January 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  203. Michael Tambe

    He's become so polarizing because of the grand scale of many of his programs. This president doesn't seem to do anything in moderation: his ambitions are big, the effects on people's lives are big, and the price tags are big. When change, any change, is proposed to come this dramatically and this fast, people are bound to either love it or hate it.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  204. Bud

    I live in Dallas, Texas and the upper-middle class people I know have been rooting for him to fail no matter what the expense to the country.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  205. Kevin H

    Its interesting to see the "polarized" responses here. Posters from the left offers reasons of "Foaming at the mouth right-wing conservatives who have lost their minds", "Bigotry", "Propaganda", etc. I can't help but laugh at the absolute ridiculousness of some of thise posts!

    These "reasons" sound like leftist propaganda to me.

    On the other side, I hear a lot of name callling from the right – names like "Socialist", "elitist", "arrogant", etc. Name calling doesn't make for a convincing argument.

    About the only thing I can offer is that Obama made campaign speeches about "uniting" and gave many people the impression that he would be in tune with mainstream America, vice catering to the far left. "Open and transparent" Government was also promised. He seems to be reneging on these promises, and let me give an example of this: Trying to ram through a health care package with secret "Dems only" negotiations behind closed doors is neither "uniting" nor "transparent". Every time I hear about "deals" that had to be struck to get this bill passed (like the exemptions of Labor Unions from the "Cadillac Tax) just make me wonder why anyone thought Obama would really bring any kind of a "change" into how business is conducted in Washington.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  206. nazario a. gonzales

    He is polarizing not because of race or even his politics, although I disagree with his policies. He is becoming an insufferable bore. He is always on the tube, always speaking as if his 100th message is the gospel truth and no one has heard it before. He moves from one subject to another without allowing others, not just Republicans, to speak or criticize his proposals. Someone should tell him that God gave him two ears to listen with, and only one mouth with which to talk.

    I dare you to print this.......thank you....

    January 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  207. Dan

    Racism has nothing to do with this. It is his far-left policies, plain and simple. Many (if not most) of the people who now oppose the President's agenda, once supported (and voted) for him.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  208. susan

    Obama trades in class warfare.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  209. Neil

    The current republican animosity towards the democratic agenda mirrors the democratic response to 8 years of Bush. Repulicans came in to the Obama presidency a decimated party desperate for relevance. The need to oppose everything Obama has proposed is part and parcel of their agenda to regain relevance and has nothing to do with what is best for the electorate.

    Thus Obama is hardly the polarizing figure, rather it is the innate desperation of the Republican agenda that has driven polarization.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  210. Sharon Omaha,Ne

    Where is the Liberal Media? I don't see it. Obama is blasted daily and everyone has the Dems. losing the mid term elections and its only January. Its seem to me that the media is making him out as a polarizing figure and does not focus on the things he has accomplished.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  211. Wes

    People are afraid. Job loss to China, and to technology has been staggering. We have become a debtor nation. Capitalism has turned on us and become economic cannabalism. Value is being sucked out the country at supersonic speed. Leaders must be blamed; we cannot accept our own responsibility for this mess. We elect. We vote with our dollars. We allowed this mess to happen. It has nothing to do with Bush or Obama. Fear is the source of the polarization.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  212. Bill

    He is polarizing because he is the most liberal President of the modern era. If we had a republican president who was as conservative as Obama is liberal – he would be poarizing also. Voters wanted a moderate democrat (ie: Bill Clinton) – but they got a Eurpoean style social-democrat.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  213. Jamel F Reed

    President Obama has become such a polarizing figure because so many people are waiting for him to fail. I pray consistently for my President because I believe that he was chosen for such a time as this. Before it is all over, he will be credited and given the honor that he deserves for taking this nation where it needs to go and turning the economy around tremenduously.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  214. Marie (Portland,Oregon)

    Obama is not the one who polarizing this administration. The GOP has pulled the wool over the average viewers eyes once again. They maintain a drone of negative messaging and its a fact that if people don't take time to find out the truth they will believe what they hear.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  215. Kay Texas

    He is too arrogant for me. He tilts his head and looks down on everyone as he speaks. He has let the Pelesoi/Reid show derail everything good that may have come from a Health Care Reform. He is no leader but a follower. When he bowed to the King, I lost all respect for the man.

    January 25, 2010 at 6:55 pm |