Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Polling The President–August 2011 Edition

I’ve moved this somewhat monthly post to the end of the month, so I can do it after the consumer confidence index is released.

It’s only been three weeks since I last looked at things, so there shouldn’t be much change.

As always, we’ll start with the RealClearPolitics averages. His post-Osama bin Laden raid peak on May 25th had the President’s approval numbers at 52.6/42.5. Three weeks ago, he was at 43.5/51.2. Today, as I write this, he’s at 43.0/53.2. This represents a 20.3 point change from May 25. And in the wrong direction for the President. The current numbers are all records for his Presidency. And not the kind of records the President wants. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that he appears to have found a floor in approval in the low 40s. For now. Until something pushes him through the floor, his disapproval can’t get above the mid 50s.

Right Track/Wrong Track is at 18.6/74.4, 4.8 points worse than just 3 weeks ago, and a –55.8 spread. These are astoundingly bad numbers for President Barack Obama (D-USA). For reference, on the day he took office, that was 23.1/69.3, a spread of –46.2. Election day in 2008 saw these numbers at 9.9/84.9, which is a –75 point spread. He still clears that hurdle easily, but the mere fact that we can even bring that up for comparison scares the living daylights out of his campaign manager.

The last thing I look at is the Consumer Confidence Index. There are several companies that produce these, and they use different methodologies. Therefore the numbers mean different things, So, I stick with the index released by The Conference Board. I’m not convinced they’re any better or any more reliable than anyone else. But the important thing is to stick with just one index, so we know we’re comparing apples and apples.

So, how are the apples? In a word, rotten.  The latest release has the index at 44.5. It was at 59.2 in July, a fall of 14.7 points. That’s a huge drop for just one month. Recall that 90 is the number indicating a “healthy” economy. It was 84.9 in November, 2001, the low point in the 9/11 recession. Again, the President can take some solace in the fact that this number was 25.3 in February, 2009, but it’s closer to that than the peak of of his administration a 70.4 rating that occurred just six months ago in February, 2011.

In other words, people are becoming more and more frustrated with this President, and have a dimmer and dimmer outlook on the future.

The words from The Conference Board are even more discouraging than the numbers:

Consumers' appraisal of present-day conditions weakened further in August. Consumers claiming business conditions are "bad" increased to 40.6 percent from 38.7 percent, while those claiming business conditions are "good" inched up to 13.7 percent from 13.5 percent. Consumers' assessment of employment conditions was more pessimistic than last month. Those claiming jobs are "hard to get" increased to 49.1 percent from 44.8 percent, while those stating jobs are "plentiful" declined to 4.7 percent from 5.1 percent.

Consumers' short-term outlook deteriorated sharply in August. Those expecting business conditions to improve over the next six months decreased to 11.8 percent from 17.9 percent, while those expecting business conditions to worsen surged to 24.6 percent from 16.1 percent. Consumers were also more pessimistic about the outlook for the job market. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead decreased to 11.4 percent from 16.9 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs increased to 31.5 percent from 22.2 percent. The proportion of consumers anticipating an increase in their incomes declined to 14.3 percent from 15.9 percent.

If these numbers don’t show many signs of improvement by next November, you won’t have to stay up very late on election night to find out who will be in the White House the next four years.

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