“Daunting.” That’s the word Pew and USA Today picked to describe their latest temperature-taking on a slew of midterm election indicators and how they measure for Democrats, and it isn’t tough to see why. The poll was conducted before the administration’s April jobs report was released last Friday, but if a drop of almost one percentage point in the U-3 unemployment rate over the past ten months hasn’t done anything to move the needle on people’s perceptions of the economy, then I highly doubt the further rate drop in last month’s report riding on the back of a net decrease in the total number of employed Americans by 73,000 jobs is going to do anything, either:
From the public’s point of view, jobs remain scarce: 65% say jobs in their community are difficult to find while 27% say there are plenty of jobs available. Since the recession, perceptions of the job market have become less negative as the unemployment rate has declined. However, there has been virtually no change in these views since last June (64% jobs hard to find), although the jobless rate has fallen by more than a percentage point (from 7.5% to 6.3%) since then.
Moreover, there has been no increase in economic optimism. About as many say that economic conditions will be worse (24%) as better (25%) a year from now, with 49% predicting little change.
It’s little wonder Democrats have been advised to avoid the term “recovery,” and despite what President Obama tells us about ObamaCare totally “working” and the debate being basically “over,” Americans don’t seem too convinced by the White House’s victory laps:
Public views of the 2010 health care law have changed little over the past several months. Currently, 55% disapprove of the Affordable Care Act and 41% approve. In September, before the launch of the online health care exchanges, 53% disapproved and 42% approved. …
On health care policy, 46% express a great deal or fair amount of confidence in Obama, 45% express at least a fair amount of confidence in Democratic leaders, while 37% have confidence in Republican leaders. This is a slight improvement for Republican leaders since December 2013, when 32% of the public had confidence in GOP leaders on health care policy (and 50% had confidence in Obama).
Today, more independents have confidence in Obama than Republican congressional leaders on health care policy (43%-34%). But independents’ confidence in Republican leaders in Congress on health care has risen 11 points since December, from 23%, while confidence in Obama is little changed.
On top of that, Obama’s popularity is still meandering with 50 percent of those polled disapproving of his job performance and only 44 percent approving; put it all together, and what do you get? “Daunting,” indeed.
A national survey by the Pew Research Center and USA TODAY, conducted April 23-27 among 1,501 adults (including 1,162 registered voters), finds that 47% of registered voters support the Republican candidate in their district or lean Republican, while 43% favor the Democratic candidate or lean Democratic. The trend over the past six months in the so-called generic ballot shows that Democrats have lost ground. In October, Democrats held a six-point lead (49% to 43%) in midterm voting preferences.
While a majority of voters (54%) say that Barack Obama will not be a factor in their vote this fall, more (26%) see their vote as a vote against the president than for him (16%). In February 2010, 24% of voters saw their vote as for Obama while about as many (20%) considered it a vote against him.