Why only 41 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance

August 18, 2010

The latest Gallup numbers are not good for the White House or congressional Democrats. The overnight tracking has Barack Obama’s approval-disapproval rating at 41 percent-52 percent. Based on the Rahm Emanuel formulation that for every point below 50 percent, the Dems lose five House seats, it looks like the GOP will take the lower chamber. This bit from a Weekly Standard piece I did pretty much explains it:

Declaring a “Recovery Summer” victory tour at the start of June must have looked like a pretty safe wager for the Obama administration. The economy seemed to have shifted firmly into gear during the spring. Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, told the Financial Times in early April that the economy was “moving toward escape velocity. You hear a lot less talk of ‘W’-shaped recoveries and double-dips than you did six months ago.”

A big reason for White House optimism was a stronger job market. The economy added an average of 320,000 net new jobs a month during March, April, and May, about half of them in the private sector. Granted, the unemployment rate still hovered close to 10 percent. But if the economy kept growing at a 3 percent annual clip or greater—creating lots and lots of new jobs in the process—unemployment would eventually fall, perhaps dramatically. As one White House insider remarked upon reviewing all the macro-indicators and then evaluating the economic team’s performance, “It looks like we got things just about right.

Since then, however, the economy has fallen back to earth, and “Recovery Summer” looks more like a bad bet. Private sector job growth has fallen by two-thirds, and the unemployment rate is still at a sky-high 9.5 percent. And if the size of the U.S. workforce, as measured by the Labor Department, had stayed constant since April—instead of shrinking by a million—the unemployment rate would be 10.4 percent. Jobless claims are at their highest level since February. Worse yet, the expansion is decelerating. After growing by 5.7 percent in the final quarter of 2009 and 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010, GDP advanced by just 2.4 percent from April through June, according to the Commerce Department. And new data show the final second-quarter number may actually be closer to flat, with growth for the rest of the year just 1 to 2 percent at best.

6 comments

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So to sum up, politicians are not economists and don’t understand a thing about forecasting… fair enough. Economists can’t agree what colour the sky is, so that doesn’t make the politicians job any easier. Politicizing the economy is the worst move period – from both sides – because it essentially GUARANTEES more govt involvement one way or another. As for what really to do regarding the economy… well, there needs to be more debt unwinding from the consumer and corps need to take the plunge on rehiring and take the bottomline hit to grow their top-line potential. Corps have to make the first move – they’re the only ones that can get loans and they are sitting on tonnes of cash… need to show some moxie to be the bigdog, or the govt will just continue to fumblefuk the economy.

Posted by CDN_finance | Report as abusive

In James Pethokoukis’ article about Obama he states,”They must put forth a set of focused initiatives aimed at reducing the debt, and cutting spending, with an emphasis on tax cuts, fiscal stimulus, and a series of initiatives to stimulate and encourage job creation.”
So to fix the economy you lower your revenue and spend more and that will reduce your debt.
The fact that anyone could write something as silly as that is part of the reason for this countries problems. The fact that people can read stuff like that without laughing is the other part…

Posted by Potatoe1 | Report as abusive

Obama needs to jack up taxes on the top 2% of wealth BEFORE the November election. That will help the Dems the most

Posted by STORYBURNthere | Report as abusive

My apologies to Mr.James Pethokoukis, The autor of the article I quoted was Douglas Schoen at The Daily Beast.

Posted by Potatoe1 | Report as abusive

“Jacking Up” taxes on the idle rich will not save the Democrats from a bigger rout than 1994. The Democratic Party is going to be sent into the WILDERNESS for two genertions or more. perhaps the party disapears ……….

Posted by HeadWolf | Report as abusive

Not to mention, Potato, that not all government spending is “stimulus,” so what you quoted isn’t actually a contradiction. It might be an unrealistic expectation, but it’s not a contradiction.

Posted by ZPT | Report as abusive