From NBC's Ali Weinberg
Our latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll surveyed more than 1,000 adults across the country. We followed up with a handful of these respondents, to get their thoughts on President Obama, Afghanistan, health care, and more. Below are some excerpts from these interviews, and here's a Web video with their comments.
On Obama the President
Andrew Maxwell, California: If I have one criticsm of the Obama administration it's that they're too tepid. Ultimately they're worried about political atmospherics too much.
Rosalind Godin, Maryland: I know he inherited a lot of problems from the previous administration and I know it's going to take a lot of time to correct some of those problems.
Brian Gross, Maryland: We are seeing some of the same old tried and unproven solutions to things, so I dont think the last ten months have been incredibly productive... I was very excited at the prospect of someone who could be a bridge builder. I haven't seen a lot of bridges being built right now.
Kenneth Kroenlein, Colorado: The thing I really appreciate about Obama's approach to date has been the diplomatic tact he's taken. He's made a real effort to open channels of communication to Iran, to North Korea and these are potentially very dangerous states. It's very important to have opened dialogue so that we can really establish a base line in case there is trouble.
In general, he has done the best he can once his feet are on the ground. It's more important to get something done that's effective as opposed to worrying about lofty goals.
Carolyn Johnson-Josey, Georgia: I think he was elected for four years and they want him to do everything that he campaigned for in ten months... Just give him time and he will stand by all of his campaign promises that he gave to us.
On Obama the person
Kroenlein: He has done pretty much what I expected him to do since he took office and has sort of increased the amount of trust I have for what he will do in the future.
Johnson-Josey: My opinion have not changed about Obama because he's a man of integrity, he's an honest and trustworthy person.
On health care reform
Maxwell: I personally support a strong public option because I think we can't be ruled by for-profit private insurers because they have no check.
Kroenlein: In trying to push through health care, he's not giving a specific plan to Congress and telling Congress, this is the bill you have to pass. He gave Congress the opportunity as the legislative branch to fulfill its role, which is to craft this kind of legislation.
On the economy
Maxwell: I think there are some players on the economic team at the moment that helped get us into this mess.
I do believe that there was a serious economic crisis. Something had to be done and there could have been a global meltdown. But it's unfortunate that it had to be done the way it was because ultimately I do agree that Main Street has suffered and the banks are largely doing fine.
Gross: I don't think [the administration] necessarily appreciates the relationship between the engine of the small business owner to put people to work in the community, to pay them a great wage and start building from the bottom up, rather than focusing so much attention on reconstructing the top down.
I think that its going to be very difficult to turn the situation around in the next 24 months; the only thing I'm hoping for is that we don't have a double dip, that something happens or the confidence is lost in a certain sectors that we head down again.
Kroenlein: By throwing the stimulus money into the economy [Obama] made that dip much shallower, I feel, that it would have been.
On Afghanistan policy
Maxwell: It's the worst possible time to be committing this much money and and people to this problem, but ultimately removing soldiers from Afghanistan does not put us in a good posture versus Pakistan...Afghanistan has been very similar for 2,000 or 3,000 years and just because we're the largest, mightiest country in the world, we're not going to solve that problem.
Gross: The best solution in Afghanistan will be for our elected officials to listen very closely to the trained professionals: the generals and the people who are on the ground doing what they do best.
Kroenlein: To a large extent [Obama has] let generals fight the wars because that's what they're good at doing, and he's tried to work on getting the political side of things working.
Johnson-Josey: Everybody wants to rush him into sending more troops to Afghanistan but he want to weigh the situation and I'm sure when the time comes, he'll do what he has to do.
Maxwell: Congress, I think, gets too bogged down in the process. I think they let the media play them. And they often play to the media themselves.I think the voters delivered a lot to Democrats in the last election I don't see unformity among Democrats. Not that that's anything new, but it seems to be bogging them down and they're not doing enough.
Godin: [Congress] didn't step in fast enough in certain instances -- like the mortgage crisis. That started at least four years ago.
Gross: I am distressed that both parties are spending a bit more time positioning and maneuvering as far as strategy and who can make the other people look worse and make their position look better, rather than getting down to the business of actually solving stuff.
Maxwell: I think it's important to have good policy, not good political atmospherics. And personally I think [Obama] probably spends too much time thinking about bipartisanship.
Gross: [Democrats and Republicans] have got to get out of this ideological bickering on both sides, and get down to what is important for the American people. Because right now Im just tired of the finger pointing on both sides.
Kroenlein: I really wish I saw more Republicans or Democrats crossing the aisle, just, worrying about what's best for the constituents rather than what the party line is.
Johnson-Josey: [President Obama] has done everything he could to be a bipartisan president, but [Congress] won't let him.
On Same-Sex Marriage
Maxwell: I don't think he's he's done enough in terms of a of promoting gay rights or equal rights at this point... but I think that there's just a lot of really meaty problems before us and a lot of the things that would be interesting to various identity groups aren't going to be taken care of right away. So he's being pragmatic and I think that's ultimately a good long term approach.
On Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Godin: I was really pleased when I heard that he was getting rid of the Don't Ask Don't Tell because to me that was, it didn't matter to me whether somebody was gay or not gay.
Kroenlein: Given the number of very large, very dramatic issues that he's been trying to deal with during his presidency, I am willing to give him a little leeway on some of these other promises that he hasn't gotten around to dealing with yet.