NBC/WSJ POLL…. Some interesting tidbits from the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll:
* Presidential approval: President Obama’s approval rating stands at 51%, the same as last month’s NBC/WSJ poll. His handling of the economy is up just a little to 50%, and his handling of health care is up five points to 46%. A combined 77% of Americans say they like the president personally.
* Uptick for reform plan: While a plurality of respondents still oppose the Democrats health care proposals, 39% believe the plan is a good idea. That’s up three points from August, and is the highest percentage since the beginning of the reform debate.
* GOP not capitalizing: Just 21% approve of the Republican Party’s handling of health care, less than half of Obama’s support. Overall, 28% have a positive impression of the GOP, while 43% have a negative impression. (Democrats have 41%-39% positive/negative score.) Nevertheless, on a generic congressional ballot, Democrats only lead by three, 43% to 40%.
* Public option: The good news is, a 48% plurality believes it’s “extremely important” to “give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance.” That’s up seven points since June. When another portion of the sample, however, was asked, “Would you favor or oppose creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health insurance companies?” 48% said they’re opposed; 46% said they’re in favor. 26% said a public option must be part of reform; 24% said it must not.
* Blame Game: If health care reform falls apart, and nothing passes, most Americans are prepared to blame Republicans. The poll found that a 37% plurality believes congressional Republicans will be “most to blame” if the bill fails. Only 10% said President Obama would deserve the blame.
* Over exposure: The media seems awfully excited about the notion that the president is on television too much. In this poll, a 54% majority said Obama is making the right amount of media appearances.
* Economic optimism: In easily the best results of the year, the number of people who are satisfied with the state of the economy has jumped 20 points since July. Those who think the economy will get better over the next year has increased nine points since April.
* Afghanistan: A 51% majority does not want to see more U.S. troops sent to Afghanistan, and 59% are less confident about the future of the conflict. On the other hand, 55% oppose a pullout.