Despite his ongoing campaign to promote his economic agenda, President Obama is having trouble persuading the country that his policies are helping the middle class.
The latest Monmouth University poll finds that a plurality of Americans think Wall Street and other elites have been served better than the middle class by the president. Only 12 percent of Americans said middle class families have greatly benefited from Obama's policies, while 46 percent said they haven't benefited at all and an additional 39 percent say they have benefited only a "little."
There is considerable skepticism that Obama's policies have been of much benefit to any groups. But the haves are seen as benefiting more than the have-nots, according to the poll. Forty-four percent said Wall Street bankers had been helped "a lot" by Obama; 35 percent said wealthy families had benefited a lot, along with health insurance companies at 34 percent, poor families at 20 percent and middle class families at only 12 percent.
Obama has been emphasizing his middle-class agenda in a series of speeches around the country, but it apparently isn't having much impact so far. "Given President Obama's track record with the middle class, this new focus may be seen as too little too late," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, N.J., in a prepared statement. "Of course, some of the problem may lie in the acrimonious relationship between the president and the House of Representatives," which is controlled by Republicans.
A spokesman for the pollster added: "The American public is split on the veracity of President Obama's announcement that he wants to refocus the remainder of his term on helping the middle class. Less than half (46 percent) believe the president when he says this, while exactly half (50 percent) do not believe him."
The survey also found that 63 percent of Americans say the country has gotten off on the wrong track, and 28 percent say the country is going it the right direction.
Fifty-one percent disapprove of the job Obama is doing and 42 percent approve.
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Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at email@example.com and on Facebook and Twitter.