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Poll: 58% think Obama has clear plan

Poll shows that nearly six in 10 respondents think the president has a clear plan for solving the country's economic problems.

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By Paul Steinhauser, CNN

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Hours before President Barack Obama on Tuesday morning delivers what the White House calls a major speech on the economy, a new national poll indicates that nearly six in 10 Americans think he has a clear plan for solving the country's economic problems.

Fifty-eight percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday morning say Obama has a clear plan to deal with the recession. That's more than double the 24% who think that Republicans in Congress have a clear plan on the economy. Nearly three in four polled say the GOP doesn't have a clear economic plan.

"Not surprisingly, Republicans don't think that Obama has a clear plan for economic recovery," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But Republicans also don't think that the GOP leaders in Congress have a clear plan either. Only 36% of Republicans nationwide believe that the GOP leadership has a clear plan; six in 10 Republicans don't feel that way."

After Democrats accused the GOP of being the party of no ideas, congressional Republicans introduced alternative budget proposals last month. Their proposals were voted down by Democrats, who hold solid majorities in the House and the Senate. Separate but similar House and Senate Democratic budget plans for fiscal 2010 passed with no Republican votes in either house of Congress. The $3.6 trillion packages contain many of Obama's top priorities, including increased spending on health care, energy and education.

The poll indicates that lack of any Republican votes to support the president's budget is registering with Americans.

Sixty-two percent of those surveyed say Obama is doing enough to cooperate with Republicans in Congress. Though that's down from 74% in February, it's still ahead of the 37% who think that congressional Republicans are doing enough to cooperate with Obama. Six in 10 say the GOP is not doing enough to reach out and work with the president.

"Obama's rating on bipartisanship has gone down, but that hasn't helped the GOP. When a Democratic president gets zero votes from the opposition, it's something that the public notices," Holland added.

The poll suggests that 49% think that the country would be better off if the Democrats kept control of Congress. Though that's down from 56% in January, it's still ahead of the 34% who say the United States would be better off if Republicans were in control of the legislative branch. In January, 31% thought the country would be in better shape if the Republicans ran Congress.

The survey also indicates that 35% of Americans approve of how Congress is handling its job, up from 29% in February. Sixty-three percent disapprove, down 8 percentage points from February.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey was conducted April 3 to 5, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. To top of page

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