Shocker: Obama approval ratings trend with perceptions, reality of bad economy

From Mark Blumenthal at National Journal Online:

…Obama’s overall approval numbers have definitely been trending down, among independents and overall, since early May, due mainly to the bad economic news.We can see the effect clearly thanks to a new question tracked since December by the Pew Research Center’s News Interest Index surveys. Once a month, they ask Americans if they are “hearing mostly good news about the economy these days, mostly bad news about the economy or a mix of both good and bad news.” Back in December, four out of five respondents said they were hearing mostly bad news. Early this year, that number steadily declined, bottoming out at 31 percent in mid-May. As Pew reported last week, however, perceived bad news has once again increased, to 37 percent in mid-June and 41 percent in the first week of July.

The chart below compares the trend in perceived bad news to trend estimates for both the Obama job rating and a question asked in many national polls about whether the country seems to be “headed in the right direction” or “off on the wrong track.”


Not surprisingly, the “right direction” and “heard mostly bad news lately” trend lines are mirror images of each other. And while Obama’s approval number held mostly steady from March through May, the chart strongly implies that the recent bad economic news has taken its toll.

Blumenthal concludes with this shocker:

In the long run — meaning 2010 and beyond — where Obama’s approval ratings go will depend largely on the direction of the economy.

As I’ve said, it’s weird rooting for and against the economy at the same time. Realistically though, I doubt it will recover by November 2010, so I think we’ll be able to pick up some seats in the House and win some governors races as well. Beyond that, it’s very hard to make a prediction either way. If it does recover at some point in 2011 or early 2012, however, Obama will win reelection. If it doesn’t, I think Romney (assuming he’s the nominee, which is highly likely based off of his economic credentials) has a good chance to beat him.


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