Which brings up the delightful paradox of why polls show Americans disapprove of Republicans in Congress more than they do Dems or Obama, generally support policies advanced by Democrats, but are still more likely to vote for Republicans. Ans: Because nobody votes for wussy losers.
More accurately, as set forth by Drew Westin in his book "The Political Mind," people tend to judge leaders on two somewhat opposing qualities: strength and warmth. They want someone strong who will make decisions and push ahead even when the decision is difficult or unpopular (the way psychologists are always telling you your children want you to assert authority despite their screaming and whining). At the same time, they want someone who they feel shares their values and exudes empathy. Or, as people supporting George Bush used to say, the people you want to have a beer with.
Move too far on one axes or another and people doubt your effectiveness as a leader. In Obama's case, he generally scores high with people for warmth. People like him. But they no longer believe he is strong. indeed, I will speculate that this is a reason for his increased personal popularity. Those who felt threatened by his strength no longer feel threatened -- so they respond to his personal warmth. OTOH, they would still prefer Rick Perry, even if they dislike him, because they believe he will get things done. this is true even when voters explicitly do not like the things he will get done. Voters still, according to every focus group and test group I have seen in the last year, prefer assholes to wusses.
Sadly, who America wants for a President is Ceaser Milan.