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Pollster: voters still can't figure out Obama, but tax deal could help

The American people were expecting a JFK for the 21st century in Obama, but they aren't yet sure who they got, says Peter Hart, an influential Democratic pollster.

Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who co-directs the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll speaks at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters in Washington on Dec. 8.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

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One of America’s top Democratic pollsters says the American public is still trying to figure out President Obama.

“The American public doesn’t hate him. And they are not rooting against him. But they are taking the measure of him,” Peter Hart said Wednesday at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for reporters. “The hope was that he was going to be John Kennedy for the 21st century. I think at this stage of the game, they are not sure who he is going to be.”

Mr. Hart's observations carry weight given his role in Democratic politics. The National Journal magazine called Hart “probably the foremost pollster for the Democratic Party.” With Republican pollster Bill McInturff, Hart conducts the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, an assignment he has held since 1989. He is chairman of Peter D. Hart Research Associates.

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