Richard Wolffe, who has some of the best sources in the Obama White House, says the administration has been conducting internal polls in at least one economically struggling Rust Belt state and the numbers are surprisingly good.
"The White House has just done some polling in Michigan," said Wolffe, a one-time Newsweek scribe and author of Renegade, during an appearance on Meet the Press. "Their internal polls show the president's numbers holding up really well in Michigan. He is above 60 percent with Independents who were supposed to have left him. Now how can that be? What is this guy doing right now? The answer for the White House is he is looking like he's doing everything and as long as he's doing that, people give him a pass because they know the economy wasn't his doing. On the other hand, how long are they going to be patient? And the question is, as we go into 2010, unemployment according to the Fed, is still going to be above 9 percent or thereabouts that's a very tough situation."
The internal numbers -- echoed by Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, in interviews several weeks ago -- push back against the conventional wisdom that Obama is losing ground with working-class voters. In early July, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 49 percent of Ohio voters disapproved of the job the president was doing.
Elsewhere on the "Meet the Press" panel, the conventional wisdom was that the president's image has suffered as the economy has worsened -- prompting some to question whether tackling health care right now is politically feasible.
"I don't think they have a whole lot of choice here," Wolffe responded. "I mean the economy was falling off the cliff."