Picking through a new Wall Street Journal/NBCpoll for nuggets to feed the ravenous crowd:
Americans are more pessimistic than they were over the summer, with only 36 percent saying the country is on the right track, down from 42 percent in June. But that’s a lot better than we were a year ago, when only 12 percent thought we were on the right track.
The all-time high on Americans feeling the country was on the right track? It was 72 percent, and it came in September 2001.
Barack Obama’s job approval/disapproval split is 51/42, about where it has been since summer. The same question asked about Congress produces an approval/disapproval of 24/65.
Forty-two percent have at least a somewhat positive view of the Democratic Party. Only 25 percent have a similar view of the Republicans.
Only 27 percent have at least a somewhat positive view of Sarah Palin, compared to 46 percent with a somewhat negative or worse impression. That question has been asked seven times since she burst on the national stage last fall, and they have worsened every time.
The numbers for Nancy Pelosi are similar — 26 percent at least mildly positive, 42 percent at least mildly negative.
Forty-six percent would like Democrats to control Congress, while 38 percent would prefer Republican control. Those numbers haven’t changed much since last November (48%D, 36%R).
Sixty-three percent say Obama inherited this economic mess, while 20 percent say it is largely Obama’s fault. Those numbers are gradually shifting over time; in June it was 72 percent inherited, 14 percent Obama’s fault; in February they were 82/8.
Sixty-three percent say the government has done too little or the right amount to help the economy; 30 percent say it has done too much. But in a seeming contradiction, only 31 percent say we should boost the economy and worry about the deficit later, compared to 62 percent who say we should worry first about the deficit. Go figure.
Forty-six percent say they would at least mildly favor “building a new independent political party to run a credible candidate for president.” Third party revolution, baby! But no. That number hasn’t actually changed much since it was asked in April 2006, when it drew 45 percent at least mildly favorable to a third party.
Forty-eight percent support a public option; 42 percent oppose.
Forty-seven percent would at least somewhat support additional troops for Afghanistan; 43 percent would oppose. Those numbers are actually more supportive of a surge than a month ago, when they were 44 percent for more troops, 51 percent opposed.
But the level of support changes significantly depending on the size of the troop increase.
Fifty-five percent would accept an increase of 10,000 troops, while 36 percent would not accept it. If you increase the troop number to 40,000, only 43 percent would accept it while 49 percent would not.
Forty-eight percent would support action on climate change even if it meant higher utility bills; 43 percent would not.
There’s a lot more to the poll if you want to sift it yourself. But the above should get you started.