Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

March 6, 2014

Economy focus may help GOP

Most Americans think the economy is still bad and that President Obama is doing a poor job handling it.

With unemployment at 6.6 percent, and only that low because millions of frustrated, jobless workers have left the labor force entirely, issues that consume media attention — like whether a shop-owner should be forced to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple — will inevitably fade in importance compared to the economy when voters go to the polls in November.

Apart from the month last fall when the Obamacare computer system crashed, Obama’s job approval rating has never been lower, according to a recent poll from the New York Times and CBS. Just 41 percent of those surveyed approve of the job the president is doing, while 51 percent disapprove.

On the question of Obama’s handling of the economy, 38 percent approve, while 57 percent disapprove.

The president’s party is hit hard, too. In the so-called generic ballot question — “If the election were held today, would you vote for the Republican or Democratic candidate as your representative?” — Republicans lead Democrats, 42 percent to 39 percent.

There’s little doubt that economic conditions, coupled with the burdens imposed on millions of Americans by Obamacare, are behind the Democrats’ troubles now, and most likely in November, too.

What is unclear is whether Democrats are fully aware of the peril. Of course, savvy candidates and strategists are, but the new Times poll shows that, as a whole, Democrats have a far more positive view of the economy than everyone else.

The pollsters asked respondents to rate national economic conditions as very good, fairly good, fairly bad or very bad.

Sixty percent of Democrats said economic conditions are fairly good or very good, while just 33 percent of independents and 17 percent of Republicans said the same.

Note that in each group, most who said economic conditions are good chose the “fairly good” option; very few, even among Democrats, said “very good.”

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