The economic message the mainstream wants to hear

National Journal has a piece today arguing that President Obama’s new economic push is the wrong message — it’s just not what the American mainstream wants to hear. Obama excelled as a candidate in 2008 appealing to independents and disaffected Republicans, but Obama risks “chasing away” those votes with economic “populism.”

The evidence to the contrary is pretty overwhelming.

We talked earlier about the new Washington Post/ABC News poll, which asked the public about raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires. A whopping 75% support the idea, suggesting “class warfare” isn’t quite as scary as Republicans and reporters like to think. The same poll found most voters also support the American Jobs Act, and strongly prefer President Obama’s approach to the GOP’s when it comes to creating jobs and protecting the middle class.

Greg Sargent does a nice job delving deeper into the data today, highlighting previously unreported details, including the fact that the White House’s economic pitch is also resonating with self-identified moderates and independents. Greg noted the findings of Post polling guru Peyton Craighill:

He points out that the movement among independents is what has firmed up the turnaround for Obama on the jobs issue. If this doesn’t put an end to the ridiculous meme that Obama’s new populism is only about playing to Dems, then nothing will. In reality, this is also a bet about where the true middle of the country lies, and a bet that what indys want most is someone who will fight for them on jobs.

The shift is striking. A month ago, independents sided with the GOP by a five-point margin on creating jobs, but now we independents siding with Obama by 13 points. That’s a pretty dramatic swing in a fairly short period of time, suggesting that those arguing that the president is driving independent voters away with his new economic message have this precisely backwards.

As for raising taxes on the very wealthy, not only do 75% of Americans support a possible surtax on millionaires and billionaires, a majority of self-identified Republicans agree.

A handful of panicky conservative Dems don’t seem to care — the fear of attack ads labeling them a “tax raiser” leads to embarrassingly weak knees — but when this high a percentage of the public backs a tax increase, and an additional revenue is desperately needed, the position for sensible policymakers should be a no-brainer.