Mainstream still not siding with GOP on economy

Every major poll shows President Obama struggling, due in large part to the public’s frustrations and anxieties over the still-weak economy. But if Republicans think they’re capitalizing on these sentiments, they’re mistaken.

President Obama’s disapproval ratings may be at an all-time high, but in a new CNN/ORC International poll, more Americans say they trust him on economic matters more than they do Republicans in Congress.

The survey released on Wednesday shows that although a lot of Americans are still unsure what’s in the president’s new jobs bill, they like most of the major proposals offered in the plan that was sent to Congress Monday.

“By a 43-35 percent margin, a plurality of Americans approve of the economic program Obama outlined in his speech to Congress last week, but more than one in five don’t have any view at all of the jobs bill,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Asked who they trust more to handle the economy, a 46% plurality side with the president, while 37% prefer Republicans. That, in and of itself, is a little surprising — Obama’s numbers on the economy are pretty awful — and reinforces the perception that the GOP isn’t capitalizing at all.

Likewise, two-thirds of respondents in the CNN poll want policymakers to focus on job creation over deficit reduction, while congressional Republicans believe the opposite.

And on the American Jobs Act, a plurality support the White House’s plan, but the more important results show strong support for individual provisions of the plan: clear majorities of Americans support cutting the payroll tax (65% support), providing state aid to protect jobs for teachers and first responders (74%), and investing in infrastructure (64%).

Republicans oppose all of these ideas.

The CNN poll is largely consistent with two other recent national polls — surveys from National Journal and NBC/WSJ — that found “despite all the disapproval and pessimism, Americans approve of the actual fiscal policies Obama is proposing.”

We know Republicans care about polls and can read the data as easily as the rest of us. Whether they’ll be swayed by any of this remains to be seen. More on that soon.