Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Americans not buying Obama's hopeful economy talk

April 26, 2010 |  5:38 am

Democrat president Barack Obama with his feet on the Oval Offfice desk

There's one problem with the encouraging economic talk coming out of the mouths of Barack Obama, Joe Biden and their political posse in Washington and elsewhere these days. Turning the corner on the bad times seems to be the operative phrase.

But evidence is now mounting that more than 15 months into the Obama era, many Americans don't believe it.

A new Harris Poll out this morning indicates that 43% of the country feels less secure about its economic position now when compared to last year. In the next six months half the country thinks its economic situation will be the same.

But the poll of 2,755 adults also finds 30% saying it will be worse come late October, which is just about the time millions of Americans will be making their candidate choices for the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

History suggests the White House party loses on average 16 House seats in its first midterm elections. Watching polls and generic congressional ballot surveys, prognosticators now say at least 25-30 Democrat seats will....

...become Republican. A change of 40 would turn the House of Representatives over to the GOP for the first time since its 12-year reign there ended in the 2006 midterms.

On Friday campaigning and fundraising again in Pennsylvania, Biden dismissed White House concerns about his optimistic economic predictions and made another one: He said the economy would produce 200,000 new jobs next month.

Democrat Joe Biden in a Senate hearing

Write that down.

But the Harris pollsters find that after all last year's initial talk about job creation and the $787 billion Obama stimulus bill followed by many more months of healthcare talk, public opinion has pretty much stayed the same the last half-year, with one third expecting improvement, one-third expecting the same and a quarter expecting worse.

Obama may indeed be eager to jump on any encouraging internal economic indicators as a sign the recession is bottoming out, even though new jobs are among the last positive signs to appear in a real recovery.

But the job-seeking, job-holding, job-searching-but-we-gave-up public remains skeptical.

Only one-in-ten Americans believes the job market has started growing again and nearly four-in-ten don't think it will for another year or longer.

A bad job situation, like high gas prices, tends to injure political incumbents. And thanks to voters' decision to turn both houses of Congress and the White House over to the same Democratic party by significant margins in 2008, there are many more Democratic incumbents than Republicans to be injured this time around.

Related items:

Obama's fifth-quarter approval slips, among worst 3 modern presidents

Large Republican House gains 'inevitable:' Rothenberg

Red flag for Obama: Americans now prefer Hillary Clinton

Joe Biden update: Democrat says he's campaigned for some 'real turkeys' over the years

-- Andrew Malcolm

Click here to receive Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or follow us @latimestot  And our Facebook FAN page is right here.

Photo: Pete Souza / White House; Associated Press (file).