Americans have grown gloomier about both the economy and the nation’s direction over the past three months even as the U.S. shows signs of moving from recession to recovery. Almost half the people now feel less financially secure than when President Barack Obama took office in January, a Bloomberg National Poll shows. …
Fewer than 1 in 3 Americans think the economy will improve in the next six months. They are pessimistic that the government will succeed in reducing unemployment or lowering the budget deficit. A year into Obama’s presidency, only 32 percent of poll respondents believe the country is headed in the right direction, down from 40 percent who said so in September.
Even Democrats are souring: “the proportion saying the country is on the right track dropped to 58 percent from 71 percent in September.” Only 26 percent of independents think we’re on the right track, down 3 points from September.
Plainly the high unemployment rate has much to do with the national mood. There’s also a disconnect between what Congress and the White House are spending nights and weekends on — a health-care plan Americans don’t want — and the real top priority for Americans: “Eight of 10 Americans rate joblessness a high risk to the economy in the next two years, outranking the federal budget deficit, which is cited by 7 of 10. An increase in taxes is named as a high risk by almost 6 of 10.” The Obami can read the polls, too, which accounts for the “jobs summit” and another set of stimulus proposals.
But I suspect it will take more than dog-and-pony shows and serial stimulus plans to lift Americans’ spirits. They expect the Congress and White House to do something about what they care about and do it fast. Since the Democrats remain obsessed with their liberal wish list — climate control and ObamaCare, neither of which rates very high on the public’s list of priorities, incumbents run the risk of appearing disconnected from their constituents, if not downright clueless. Probably not a desirable position to be in going into an election year.