US opinion still favours Obama

April 26, 2009 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, Apr 26 – The war-weary US public, gripped in a painful recession, shows no sign of turning away from President Barack Obama as he nears the 100-day mark, according to recent public opinion polls.

Surveys taken in the run up to April 29, his 100th day in office, show about two out of three Americans approve of the way the vastly popular president is doing his job — up slightly from March, down just a hair from when he took office.

And a new poll by the Pew Research Center found Obama’s personal appeal even stronger, with 73 percent of respondents holding a favourable view of him, including 46 percent of Republicans.

Obama made hundreds of campaign promises on the road to the White House — and has pressed ahead on several of the most high-profile in his first 100 days.

According to a scorecard of more than 500 campaign pledges collated on the Pulitzer Prize-winning website, Obama has kept 27 promises and broken six, but the vast majority are still a work in progress.

Among the major promises KEPT by the new Democratic leader:

— Most combat troops are being pulled out of Iraq by August 2010 and all US forces are scheduled to leave by the end of 2011.

— Extra troops are being dispatched to Afghanistan — 21,000 this year — and Pakistan is at the centre of a new drive against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

— A 75-billion-dollar fund has been created to help embattled homeowners.

— New loans are coming on tap for small businesses.

— A state health insurance scheme for children has been expanded.

— Unemployment benefits have been enlarged.

— Predecessor George W. Bush’s restrictions on stem-cell research have been overturned.

— Two Republicans are in the cabinet. Obama had promised at least one.

— Curbs on travel and money transfers by Cuban-Americans to their communist-run homeland have been lifted.

— And the Obama girls have a new puppy.

Obama has also made a start on rolling back Bush’s "war on terror" policies by ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention site and banning abusive interrogations of terror suspects that critics called "torture."

In foreign policy, Obama’s pledges to engage with Iran and to reset ties with Russia remain in an embryonic phase. Tough talk on trade has not led to any action against China or America’s NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico.

But the president did make good on a vow to deliver a speech in an Islamic capital in his first 100 days during a recent visit to Turkey.

Among promises BROKEN:

— US recognition of the Ottoman Empire’s "genocide" during World War I against Armenians. Obama avoided the word during his stay in Turkey and in a message on Armenian Remembrance Day.

— A ban on former lobbyists working in the White House has been waived for at least three staffers.

— Obama’s popular pledge to scrap income tax for seniors earning less than 50,000 dollars a year did not figure in his huge economic stimulus package.

— Also missing from the stimulus bill and subsequent proposals has been a promised tax credit of 3,000 dollars for companies adding full-time workers.

Other promises are classed by as STALLED with administration officials talking down prospects for action. Those include ending the Pentagon’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy on gays serving in the military.

Neither is there any sign of Obama’s promised windfall tax on giant oil company profits, with energy prices well off their record highs of last year amid the global economic crunch.



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