If people vote their pocketbooks, the Elon University Poll could be a ray of light for President Obama. North Carolinians say the most important issue in the state is the economy, and 69% of them think it is going to stay the same or get better. That is basically the same percentage as those who think the national economy is going to stay the same or get better (68%).
On the other hand:
If people vote their pocketbooks, the Elon University Poll could be a ray of light for the GOP. North Carolinians say the most important issue in the state is the economy, and 71% of them think it is going to stay the same or get worse. That is greater than those who think the national economy is going to stay the same or get worse (63%).
Here’s where you have to dig into the numbers:
The percentage of North Carolinians who think the state economy will get better by the end of the year rose from 11% in March 2011 to 26% last month. When asked the same question about the national economy, the percentage who answered “will get better” bounced from 16% in September 2011 to 34% last month. (In February 2009, a month after Obama took office, 32% of respondents said they thought the economy would get better.)
The optimism could be explained by a stock market hovering around 13,000 and an unemployment rate that, while high, is ever-so-slowly inching down.
The government announced today: U.S. employers added 227,000 jobs in January to complete three of the best months of hiring since the recession began. The unemployment rate was unchanged, largely because more people streamed into the work force. The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent last month, the lowest in three years.
The President didn’t waste time capitalizing, either. President Barack Obama applauded another burst of job growth Friday as proof the economy is rebounding on his watch from a disastrous recession. Bidding for re-election, Obama warned factory workers and campaign donors that Republicans would offer only the policies “that got us into this mess.”
Optimism isn’t felt everywhere, at least among Republican voters. From the Associated Press in exit polls on Super Tuesday: In addition, practically every Ohio GOP voter said he or she is nervous about where the nation’s economy seems headed over the next few years, including about three-quarters who said they are very worried.
For now people are more optimistic about the economy than they have been for months. Still, I’ll say the obvious: the economy is delicate. A Greece default. A stock market tank. An Iranian threat. Continued rising gas prices. Any of those things could flip the numbers. And with them, flip President Obama’s numbers.
– John Robinson