Gallup delivers two blasts at the Obama administration today for its handling of the economy. The first comes in its daily tracking poll, which reacted rather badly to Barack Obama’s speech from the White House yesterday. His approval rating dropped three points to its previous low of 40% after only one cycle of polling. Disapproval rose back to 50%, up two points from the day before. That sharp drop could amplify over the next couple of days, especially considering the beating Obama is taking across the political spectrum for his ill-considered rehash of an address. It’s possible that we will see Obama drop below 40% for the first time ever as Saturday and Sunday responses roll out of the survey data.
In not unrelated news, economic confidence plunged to its lowest level since shortly after Obama took office:
Americans’ economic confidence plunged to -53 in the week ending Aug. 7, a level not seen since the recession days of March 2009. This deterioration coincided with the final wrangling over the U.S. debt ceiling and Standard and Poor’s downgrade of the United States’ debt rating. Economic confidence is now far worse than the -43 of two weeks ago and the -34 of a month ago.
U.S. economic confidence deteriorated even faster in July and the first week of August than it did in June compared with May. This plunge in confidence contrasts with the relatively flat trend in 2010. It also places consumer perceptions of the economy in the range of March 2009 during the recession. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index hit its recession/financial crisis weekly low of -65 — just 12 points worse than now — during the week of Oct. 6-12, 2008.
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index combines two measures: one assessing Americans’ views about whether the U.S. economy is “getting better” or “getting worse,” and the second involving Americans’ ratings of current economic conditions as “excellent,” “good,” “only fair,” or “poor.” The Index’s inception was in January 2008. Both weekly ratings are at their lows since early 2009.
Given these numbers, Obama’s boast that “we will always be a AAA country” probably fell on disbelieving ears. Americans do not see much reason for optimism, as it becomes clear that the “recovery” was mainly the impact of short-term policy gimmickry and not sustainable growth. After listening to Obama’s speech yesterday, with his call to build more roads, bridges, and airports, Americans can deduce that Obama doesn’t have anything else but more gimmickry to offer.
This seems like a good point to recall the words of the Democratic Party’s national chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who tried telling Americans last week (and two months earlier, too) to just believe the White House and stop paying attention to their own lying eyes. Like Obama, Debbie Downer seems to lack a Plan B in the face of adversity:
How can anyone have confidence in an administration and a political party that refuses to acknowledge reality? If they’re still running with a “Happy Days Are Here Again” theme by next summer, the elections might be a bloodbath for Democrats.