Most Americans confident Obama will fix economy

WASHINGTON (AP) - In one of the economy's darkest hours in
decades, it looks as if people are taking Barack Obama up on his
exhortations for hope and change.

Seven in 10, or 72 percent, voice confidence the president-elect
will make the changes needed to revive the stalling economy,
according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Tuesday.
Underscoring how widely the public is counting on its new leader,
44 percent of Republicans joined nearly all Democrats and most
independents in expressing that belief.

The poll shows that faith in Obama is even broader, at least for
now. Sixty-eight percent said they think that when he takes office
in January, the new president will be able to enact the policies he
pushed during his presidential campaign.

People signaled a willingness to wait on one of the keynote
items of his agenda - tax cuts. Only about one in three, or 36
percent, said they wanted Obama to make income-tax cuts a top
priority when he takes office, and even fewer wanted higher taxes
on the rich to be a primary goal.

Instead, 84 percent said strengthening the economy should be a
top-tier priority. Eighty percent also named creating jobs as a No.
1 order of business.

Majorities in both parties said those issues should be top
priorities, though Democrats were a bit likelier than Republicans
to say so.

With Obama ending the GOP's eight-year hold on the White House
under President Bush and about to become the first black president,
the AP-GfK poll showed three quarters saying the election made them
feel hopeful, six in 10 feeling proud and half expressing

Though Democrats were far likelier to express those emotions,
such feelings were not limited to them. Among Republicans, half
said they were hopeful, one third proud and nearly a fifth said
they were excited about the election results. Another quarter in
the GOP said they were depressed.

Highlighting anew how the Iraq war has faded as a paramount
public concern, only half of people said they wanted Obama to make
a U.S. troop withdrawal a top focus upon taking office.

Until the weakening economy replaced Iraq as the top problem in
public opinion polls nearly a year ago, Obama's pledge to set a
timetable from withdrawing troops from the war was his
highest-profile issue.

But the AP-GfK poll also underscored the enduring partisan split
over the war. Two-thirds of Democrats want a troop withdrawal to be
a top Obama priority, compared with just three in 10 Republicans.

Half also said they wanted universal health care coverage to be
a No. 1 priority, again with far more Democrats than Republicans
citing it as a top goal.

Nearly three-quarters said they'd like Obama to name some
Republicans in his Cabinet, as the Democrat has said he would do.

Most also expressed no problem with the lock Democrats will have
on Washington beginning next year. Four in 10 said Democratic
control of the White House and Congress will be good for the
country while another two in 10 said it would make no difference.
Only a third said it would hurt.

The AP-GfK poll was conducted Nov. 6-10 and involved cell and
landline telephone interviews with 1,001 adults. It has a margin of
sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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