Saturday, April 18, 2015

It's Still The Economy, Stupid

Ed Kilgore notes that Americans are feeling a lot better about President Obama's performance when it comes to the economy, and if that keeps up it could help Dems across the board in November 2016.

This new finding from Bloomberg Politics’ polling (as reported by Margaret Talev) is a pretty big deal, assuming it holds up as a trend: 
Americans are becoming more optimistic about the country’s economic prospects by several different measures. President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy is being seen more positively than negatively for the first time in more than five years, 49 percent to 46 percent—his best number in this poll since September 2009.

Here’s the under-side of that optimism, though: 
[T]he national survey of 1,008 adults, conducted April 6-8, also reveals that about three-fourths of Democrats and independents, along with a majority of Republicans, say the gap is growing between the rich and everyone else—and a majority of women want the government to intervene to shrink it. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

So it may well be that Hillary Clinton’s talk about inequality isn’t just a response to progressives unhappy with Obama’s “centrism,” but a theme we’ll be hearing more of both from her and from Obama himself as the obvious thing for a left-of-center pol to talk about when the overall direction of the economy is looking better. It also probably means that we’ll hear Republicans continue their awkward efforts to suggest shrinking government will unleash upward mobility. All in all, optimism about what a Democratic president is doing plus concerns traditionally associated with Democrats is a pretty good public opinion backdrop for a Democratic non-incumbent.

Meanwhile, Republicans like Chris Christie and Rand Paul are still talking about massive cuts to programs like SNAP, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and of course eliminating the Affordable Care Act and putting millions back into the category of uninsured.

That's a fight that Democrats will win.

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