Majority of Americans say they are worse off under Obama

politics | Sep 04, 2012 | By Martin Barillas

 

According to a poll conducted for the online journal The Hill, a majority of American voters think that the United States is  worse off now than it was four years ago when President Barack Obama was elected. This majority asserts that the incumbent chief executive does not deserve reelection. The poll says that 52 percent of likely voters say the country is in “worse condition” now than in September 2008, while 54 percent say President Obama does not deserve reelection based solely on his job performance. And in an interview with a Colorado Springs television reporter. the president gave himself an "incomplete' when asked to grade his performance on the economy.
 
The poll was concluded on September 2, while questioning of 1,000 likely voters was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research. It has a 3 percentage point margin of error. The poll concluded that only 31 percent of voters believe the U.S. is in “better condition,” while 15 percent say it is “about the same.”
 
The poll highlighted sharp political differences in the body politic: 78 percent of Democrats assert that the president deserve re-election, but 1 in 5 Dems do not believe he should be afforded another term.  A poll conducted for The Hill in July found that President Obama has changed the nation for the worse.  Of those voters defined as centrists said that the president does not deserve reelection based on his job performance, 56 percent are dissatisfied with his economic policies while 53 percent feel the country is worse off. Also, male voters (57 percent) believe the Kenyan-American does not deserve reelection, as compared to 51 of female voters. 
 
Democrat politicos and officials have been quick to point out that there indeed have been improvements in the economy since the George W. Bush administration. For example, Representative Xavier Becerra of California said on September 3  “We lost 425,000 jobs in September of 2008…Last month, we gained 170,000 jobs in this country. … We are moving forward.”  This points to statistics from 2008 when, two months before the election, the American economy lost 1.4 million jobs and then another 2 million in President Obama’s first months. Job growth has been slow but positive over the last 22 months.  President Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, said on NBC’s Today Show on September 3 that the U.S. economy is “absolutely” better than it was when her boss was elected. 
 
The poll highlights growing dissatisfaction with the chief executive who this week will make his pitch to party faithful at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte N.C. It is in the area of the economy that President Obama will have his work cut out for him. The Hill poll shows that 50 percent of voters are “very unsatisfied” with the president’s policies. Just 8 percent said they were somewhat unsatisfied. Republicans are zeroing in on the economy in their own pitch to American voters. On Labor Day, September 3, Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan taunted, “The president cannot tell you that you’re better off.”  Speaking in North Carolina, Ryan said “And if we want to improve things, then how would rehiring the same administration do that? It wouldn’t.”
 
According to The Hill poll, more voters believe that Republican candidate Mitt Romney will carry the day in November than those who believe President Obama will win. However, state-by-state polls lead some analysts to believe that the president will have a margin of victory in some of the swing states such as Ohio, which he has visited several times this year.
 
Some Democrats appear to be distancing themselves from their ostensible leader. For example, Maryland Gov.  Martin O’Malley (D) on September 2 responded “No” to the question of whether or not the U.S. is better off now than in 2008. Apparently chagrined, Gov. O’Malley went into reverse gear on the next day when he said that the country is “clearly better off.” 
 
Still, there are troubling economic statistics that Republicans may insist is reason enough to show President Obama the door.  Unemployment has been north of 8 percent for 42 consecutive months. In July it was 8.3 percent, while in December 2008 it was 7.3 percent. Also, federal indebtedness has mushroomed under the president’s watch because of the recession and flagging recovery. In December 2008, the public debt stood at $10.7 trillion while today it is nearly $16 trillion. Once the coming election is concluded, it is likely that Congress will again raise the national debt limit. According to The Hill, “Twenty-three million Americans are struggling under our economy and 7 in 10 Americans believe we are not better off,” said Kirsten Kukowski of the Republican National Committee. “The fact that President Obama’s campaign believes our country is better off after four years under his watch shows just how out of touch they are.”

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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