In a recent thread, a roving Republican commenter posted that in her opinion the country voted clearly to "stop Obama." As vague as that might be, it's probably a fair expression of where the Tea Party/Republican activists are. But what about the country as a whole?
I looked up some things on pollingreport.com and found these little tidbits:
A poll by Pew Research Center found that 55% of Americans want Republicans to work with Obama while only 38% want Republicans to "stand up to Obama." That 38% is about the same as we see for any issue where the Republicans really differ from the rest of the country. So what this suggests to me is that the only people who think President Obama "has to be stopped" are the hard core of Republican activists. In other words, they are not riding a wave of broad support.
Similarly, 62% of Americans want Democrats to work with Republicans. I think we can assume that the 62% who want Democrats to work with Republicans overlap somewhat with the 55% who want Republicans to work with Democrats. I take this as an indication that the center of the political spectrum is sick and tired of the politics of intransigence and obstruction. It's a pity they keep voting for divided government.
When Pew asked Americans who should "take the lead" in Washington, 49% said Obama compared to just 30% who said Republicans. Again, not exactly what we'd expected to see if the 2010 election was really a broad based movement of opposition to President Obama.
Recent Polls by Pew and CBS both found that the number of Americans who approve of President Obama is about the same as the number who disapprove of him. Again, not really what we'd expect to see if there was really a fundamental change in American attitudes in general.