The Obama administration has been bad for higher-income Americans, but not disastrous. Quantitative easing has re-inflated the stock market, and middle-aged “knowledge workers” have suffered less than other groups. But for the working class, there is nothing good to be said about Obamanomics: high unemployment, a scarcity of full-time work, skyrocketing prices of food and fuel, more expensive health care, anemic economic growth, and wage decline caused in part by competition with unprecedented numbers of legal and illegal immigrants. What’s to like? Nothing. I think the Obama economy accounts for the steeper decline in his approval among non-college graduates.
Why is this bad news for Hillary Clinton? Because Obama’s economy has been even worse for minority members of the working class than for whites. The only reason why African-Americans and Hispanics express a higher opinion of Obama than whites is that, understandably, they see him as their guy. If they responded to pollsters in a manner consistent with their actual experience of Obamanomics, the president’s overall approval would be in the basement.
When Hillary runs in 2016 as the heir of Obama’s liberal economic and immigration policies, she will not have that built-in advantage with minorities.