Thursday, September 13, 2012
Most See The Economy As Improving
Shocked at being so unceremoniously tossed out of power, the Republicans came up with what they thought was a good plan. They decided they would delay, obstruct, and wherever possible, block anything President Obama and the Democrats tried to do to improve the economy. And they put that nefarious plan into action. The first two years they did it in the Senate by misusing the filibuster rule. Then after 2010, after winning the House back, they blocked all efforts in the House of Representatives.
The idea was that most people would forget about President Bush and how badly the GOP trickle down policies had failed after four years, and President Obama would be blamed for the economy that had not improved. Then the Republicans could make the 2012 election about the economy and be swept back into power. But although they did a good job of blocking actions by the president, things have worked out as well as the Republicans had hoped.
For one thing, a majority of the population still blames President Bush more than President Obama for the economic mess. And secondly, in spite of Republican efforts to stop any economic recovery, the economy has slowly been getting better. The rate of foreclosures has slowed significantly, the stock market has recovered, there have now been several months of positive GDP growth, and for more than 14 months there has been job growth. The economy has not fully recovered by any means, but it is now at least moving in the right direction.
And people are noticing. They are still not happy with the economy but most see it as improving. According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center (taken September 7th through 9th), it is no longer true that most people see only bad when they look at the economy. And the outlook of the public has improved significantly just in the last year. In August of 2011, 67% of people said the news about the economy was mostly bad. Now only 35% say the economic news is mostly bad. And the jobs outlook has also improved in the eyes of the public. In August of 2011 about 74% of people said the news on jobs was mostly bad news. Now that has dropped to about 52%.
And as the chart above shows, all political groups see less bad economic news than they did in 2008. While a majority of Republicans still see economic news as mostly bad, about 60%, that is 20% less that had that view in 2008. Meanwhile, only 15% of Democrats and , more importantly, only 36% of Independents now see the economic news as being mostly bad. This is certainly not what the Republicans were counting on.
The election is still going to be about the economy. But with the economy showing some improvement and people starting to believe that, and with much of the blame for the slowness in improvement being viewed as the fault of Bush and Republican obstruction, the GOP plan to tank the economy and blame the president is not turning out to be the road back to power they had hoped it would be.