Waiting for Obama

Our approach is to control any temptation to project a "new beginning" in Mexico-US relations, or to offer breathless anticipations of new levels of cooperation.  At the same time, we reject the cynicism that says nothing ever changes, and all this is a farce.  Simply put, we are arguing that to understand Obama in Mexico, we need to understand Obama in the US.

How is Obama seen in the US?  A sober consensus has emerged that he is a more skilled and subtle politician than anyone, friend or foe, anticipated.  He is seen as a progressive pragmatist, willing to move for reform on the domestic front, especially in redressing the rightward drift of the past 40 years in federal administration, and as a multi-lateralist in foreign affairs, with his strategic content yet to be clearly formulated.

He certainly does have the numbers right now, and they are as textured and sensitive as the best questions our colleagues at Gallup and other agencies have to offer.   Some polling in the US ends up being quite different from "approval" polls in Mexico, where in general "media promoted approval" is registered faithfully by media sponsored polling.[1]

In societies like Mexico, still a short way out in the transition from more authoritarian forms, the Presidential Approval Question tends to garner high levels, while specific questions about the economy or other policies tend to show much lower Presidential support.  It seems to be the opposite right now with Obama; 71% say he is to be trusted doing the right thing for the economy. 

His general approval is a healthy but not spectacular 63%, basically stable says Gallup.

Obama is willing to attempt a full agenda, national and international, and at the same time embrace elements of a serious strategy for the re-forging of the Democratic Party voting base.[1]   All politicians and political teams pretend they hit the ground running and have been thinking of program and policy since long before their campaign and election, but it seems he and his team actually did this.