1. People are really struggling - for many many people, more than they have in their lifetime. The twin pillars of a strong American economy - security and opportunity - are at shockingly low levels for far too many Americans, reaching deep into the middle class. This is most people's absolute overriding concern, NOT too much government spending, "socialism", or political scandals.
2. The Republican Party, conservatism, and big business are at historically low levels of popularity. There is enormous and sweeping distrust for the party of Bush's incompetence, the libertarian free-market ideology that is unconcerned with people suffering, and the bankers whose greed and shortsightedness are ripping the American Dream away from hardworking Americans.
3. Barack Obama is enormously popular, trusted, and even beloved. His support is both historically broad - encompassing all Democrats, most independents, and many Republicans - and it is extraordinarily deep - which we can see both from quantitative poll evidence and qualitative evidence from reading articles in every section of the paper filled with people inspired by Obama, and attending the Inauguration in a Washington filled with 3 million die-hard supporters, people who would march into battle for him. One poll should sum it up: Fox News found that nearly twice as many Americans were moved to tears by Obama's Inauguration than disapprove of his performance as President.