Obama Follows Path Laid Out by Reagan

Similarities helped in victory; challenge now is governing: pollster
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Nov 10, 2008 10:51 AM CST
President Ronald Reagan gives a thumbs-up to supporters at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles as he celebrates his re-election, Nov. 6, 1984, with first lady Nancy Reagan at his side.   (AP Photo/File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Barack Obama's election was an affirmation, not a rejection, of Ronald Reagan’s principles, writes pollster Scott Rasmussen in the Wall Street Journal. Both espoused platforms of hope and tax cuts during administrations that disgusted voters with economic mismanagement. Obama's challenge now is "attempting to govern with a message that resonates with most voters but divides his own party," Rasmussen predicts.

The turning point for Obama was the implosion of Lehman Brothers, which helped crystallize voter sentiment in his favor. "Down the campaign homestretch, Mr. Obama's tax-cutting promise became his clearest policy position," Rasmussen writes. "Eventually he stole the tax issue from the Republicans." Nearly one-third of voters expected tax cuts from Obama, compared to only 11% from John McCain.