Thursday, April 16, 2015

Good news for the economy, bad news for Republicans

By Richard Barry

In what is surely good news for Hillary Clinton, a new Bloomberg poll finds that more Americans are feeling optimistic about the state of the economy and President Obama's handling it.
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.

[. . . ]

“The uptick extends not just to Obama but to the mood of the country and to things getting better,” says J. Ann Selzer, president of West Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “This will be an interesting potential transition, if it's a movement that signals the country is more cognizant about things turning better and that, in an indirect way, they're feeling better about Obama.”

On the downside:
[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.

Aside from the obvious takeaway that a strong economy is good for the incumbent party, perception of a growing wealth gap can't be good for Republicans, even as they attempt to make themselves over as the party of economic opportunity.

They will try to argue that the reason the middle class isn't doing better is because government is somehow keeping them down. And we know that constant chatter about higher taxes and unnecessary government regulation will inform much of GOP campaign. But is that likely to work amid perception that the economy is improving?

Doubt it.

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