A new survey released by CNBC reports just 24% of Americans are confident in the President’s economic leadership. Support for Obama’s economic leadership, moreover, is 15 points lower than it was in August 2010, just a few months before the GOP wave swept through Congress. Obama’s low marks comes even as the poll found a slight increase in American’s optimism about the economy.
Last week, Fox News analyst Juan Williams suggested that the “improving” economy could bolster Obama and the Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections. The CNBC survey should put that notion to rest. Just 45% of Democrats report they are confident in Obama’s economic policies.
The CNBC survey did find Americans slightly more optimist about the economic outlook. That optimism is graded on a very steep curve, however. The number of Americans rating the economy as “fair” or “poor” dropped 5 points, to 79%. Those rating the economy “excellent” or “good” rose 3 points, up to only 18%.
Almost every day, new economic data is sliced and parsed by analysts and pundits for clues about the direction of the economy. At times, it doesn’t seem far off deliberations over entrails at Delphi millennia ago. The economy is not, however, a cold math equation. People feel it everyday. At best, the economy is flat, with no obvious prospects for improvement.
This has been the economic outlook for most of Obama’s presidency. In response, Obama has pitched the same set of policies; hike the minimum wage, build more infrastructure and ensure “equal pay” for women. It is as if his economic philosophy was lifted out of a discarded script of That 70s Show. Those policies might be useful, in and of themselves, but they are hardly the recipe to fix an economy with an historically low number of Americans in the workforce.
Obama has lost the public’s trust on the economy. Without regaining it, he is unlikely to improve on his poll numbers. We will all just have to mark time and limp along until the end of his term.