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When Political Spin and Economic Realities Collide

As the unemployment rate climbs toward double digits, Obama's aura starts to fade. (Also read Roger L. Simon: "Media lemmings jumping? Reporters have 401ks too")

by
Jennifer Rubin

Bio

July 10, 2009 - 12:51 am
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Back in February I wrote that there are indeed “two Americas” — a political one (then still fully enthralled with Barack Obama) and an economic one (already struggling with worsening unemployment and a downward spiral in investor and consumer confidence). And I predicted:

Eventually the two realms — economic and political — will collide. As elections draw near politicians on both sides and the MSM political coverage become very interested all of a sudden in the CPI, the Dow Jones, the trade deficit, and other financial indicators of our economic health.

Well, plainly I was wrong about the timing. The collision of the two realms has already occurred, well in advance of the 2010 elections.

Perhaps it was the June unemployment numbers. Maybe it was another negative trend in the stock market and credit delinquency rates. But the voters have awakened with a start. And more swiftly than many imagined, Obama’s poll numbers are tumbling.

Rasmussen shows just how dramatic a change we have seen:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 30% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Thirty-eight percent (38%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -8.  … Thirty-nine percent (39%) now give the president good or excellent marks for handling the economy while 43% say he is doing a poor job. Those are by far his lowest ratings yet on the economy. … Overall, 51% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president’s performance so far. Forty-eight percent (48%) now disapprove.

It isn’t hard to figure out what is happening. The economic picture has overtaken, and finally begun to drown out, the political spin and hype generated by the White House and fanned by the cheerleaders in the mainstream media. Not even the New York Times can ignore the economic reality and its impact on the public’s assessment of the president’s performance:

With unemployment already at 9.5 percent and likely to exceed 10 percent, much higher than White House officials predicted back in February, Mr. Obama has been facing attacks that his $787 billion stimulus program was either too timid or wrong-headed or both. Now, just five months after Congress agreed on the plan, with only a fraction of the money actually out the door, Washington is debating the need for a second round of stimulus amid economic and political crosscurrents.

It has gotten so bad that even Jon Stewart is hollering at the president to just fix the economy.

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