Voters still side with Dems’ economic agenda

There are three new national polls out this morning — Washington Post/ABC, NBC/Wall Street Journal, and Politico/GW — and they largely point in the same direction. President Obama’s approval rating continues to fall, and is now in the low-to-mid 40s; Republicans are even more unpopular; and the American mainstream is deeply frustrated and pessimistic.

But since all of that’s rather predictable, let’s instead look at something a little more interesting: public attitudes on policy agendas.

The NBC/WSJ poll (pdf) was of particular interest on this front, asking respondents:

“President Obama is expected to outline a jobs plan in the coming weeks. I’m going to read some different proposals that could be considered by the president. For each one please tell me if you think this proposal is a good idea, a bad idea, or do you not know enough about it to have an opinion.”

The most popular idea was having the government pay for unemployed workers to train at private companies. Funding a new road construction bill also enjoyed strong support. Though the polls weren’t quite as one sided, pluralities also backed an extension of unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut.

Politico’s poll asked a similar question about “a large scale federally subsidized nationwide construction program putting Americans back to work building roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.” A 51% majority favored the idea, while only 21% opposed it.

When President Obama presents his jobs agenda on Thursday, it’s likely those who tune in will approve of his ideas.

At the same time, the NBC/WSJ poll also asked about various approaches to deficit reduction, with similar results. Ending Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy enjoyed strong support; cutting spending without new revenue was very unpopular. The idea with the least amount of support? Cutting Medicare.

For all the talk about the center-right nation, and for all of the president’s troubles in the polls, most of the public is still on board with what Democrats are proposing, and have no use for what the GOP is selling.

Of course, the challenge is capitalizing on this — Republicans to date haven’t much cared whether their tactics are popular or not.