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Public sticks with President -- but for how much longer?

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Despite Wall Street's jitters and an opposition gathering along a broad front from labor to environmentalists, President Reagan's support holds strong with the nation's regular folk.

"The country is still giving the President the benefit of the doubt," says Vincent J. Breglio, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a Reagan campaign strategist. "Sixty percent of the electorate haven't fluctuated two or three points in six or seven months. There's no defection among voters."

Democrats agree. "The Democrats would be ill-advised to gloat over the economy or to try to make short-term political gains in the coming weeks," says Ted Van Dyke, executive director of the Center for Democratic Policy, a new Washington think tank established to lead a Democratic Party revival.

"The public still agrees with Reagan's goals," says Mr. Van Dyke. "They think the federal role and the budget ought to be reduced. The Democrats can't argue to reverse what's been done. Now either revenues have to be increased -- which is unlikely, or there must be more spending cuts. If there are to be cuts , the Democrats must take part in the dialogue."

John Iseminger, a Hudson, Iowa, farmer, reflects a patience that has not yet run out on the President. Mr. Iseminger notes the Reagan farm bill crimps agriculture, though he doesn't see why dairy farmers should complain when their subsidies are trimmed. "We beef people have to take our losses," he says. Interest rates trouble him, but he adds: "It's a thing we have to live with until we find what's really the matter."

Iseminger concludes: "The light isn't too good at the end of the tunnel. It's going to get tougher before it gets better. But like the majority, I think enduring this for a while is what's called supporting the President."


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