Barack Obama is catching a cold on his economic policies. Sure, his numbers are a lot healthier than George W. Bush’s were in the last years of his Presidency, but there is danger in the data for Democrats.

This analysis results are based on a bipartisan survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies together with Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research for National Public Radio, which are not responsible for these conclusions.

Only 49{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of voters favor President Obama’s plan for the federal budget, while 40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} oppose it. Not only is the President under 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} on an issue that will be a key component of his Administration going forward, but intensity is against the budget. Only 22{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} strongly favor it, while 30{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} strongly oppose it. Thus, opponents of Obama’s budget are more fired up, ready to go than supporters are.

The budget is a net negative with Republicans, Independents, men, seniors, very conservative voters, somewhat conservative voters, frequent church-goers, and even the states that Obama won by less than five percent. His post-partisan model already is not working. Even more problematic for Obama is that he is on slippery ground in the political center. However Republicans shouldn’t underestimate the amount of personal good will that he has with voters, or the devotion his base of white Democrats and African Americans (regardless of party ID) have for their President.

Obama’s stimulus bill has a higher support level than the budget, but again runs into intensity issues. The overall number looks decent – 55{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} overall favor it, compared to 42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} opposition (which is down from 63{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} favor/24{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} oppose in a CBS News/NY Times poll in January). However, the intensity is underwhelming – 27{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} strongly favor/33{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} strongly oppose.

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While the Obama team made the campaign look easy, they are finding that governing is hard. And the specifics of the budget and the economic stimulus has weakened his standing. It’s stunning that less than two months into his Presidency there is more intense opposition to his key policies than support. Obama is moving past the sniffles stage and is in danger of getting a lot sicker a lot faster than anyone could have predicted in the “Months of Good Feelings” after his election.

Public Opinion Strategies