August 23 2010
Nicole Kurokawa Neily
Breaking news out of Washington DC: there's a huge disconnect between those in charge and the people on the economy!
President Obama says we are heading in the right direction; contrast this, however, with this week's AP-GfK poll, which shows that 60% of Americans think the country is moving in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, the President's latest statement merely reinforces the perception that the administration is out of touch.
This month's Politico poll, conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, also shows that DC elites are out of touch (again); 32% of the general population believes that the economy is on the right track, a full 14 points lower than elites (46%). In addition, 56% of DC elites think stimulus has helped, while only 40% of the public agrees with that assessment.
Case in point: while the President's focusing on issues like the mosque and green energy, the American people are worried about the economy. The AP poll showed that the economy is extremely important or very important to them personally to 91% of the population. Alas, 81% describe the economy as poor/ very poor - so it's not surprising that 56% disapprove of the President's performance on the economy, while only 41% approve.
And let's be honest, the American people are right to be worried. GDP growth rates are slow - 2.4% in the 2nd quarter of 2010, down from 3.7% in the 1st quarter - while unemployment is at 9.5% and underemployment remains high. In addition, bankruptcies are at a 5-year high. We've hit bottom - but if taxes go up in 2011 (independent of the tax hikes included in the health care bill), the bottom will fall out.
This does not bode well for Democrats in November; the generic ballots from Gallup, Rasmussen, and a number of other polls have Republicans up, and barring any major catastrophes or implosions in the next several months, that's the outcome we're going to see.
However, Republicans still need to articulate a positive agenda to give people a reason to vote for them - not just "throw the bums out" - or they won't have a mandate to govern come January.