For years, the nation’s wobbly economy has been the Achilles’ heel of the Obama administration, drawing fire from the right and left about the president’s decision-making and policies throughout his two terms.
Voters also were dismayed, causing President Barack Obama’s approval ratings to plummet to 42.6 percent during the year that spanned from January 20, 2014 to January 2015.
But on Tuesday, a new CNN/ORC poll shows an uptick in President Barack Obama’s approval rating, as optimism over the economy sky-rockets among adults to its highest levels in nearly eight years.
Forty-eight percent of the 1,018 Americans surveyed said they approve of how he is handling his job and 47 percent disapprove, the poll says. While still within the margin of error, the report says, President Obama moved away from negative territory for the first time since May 2013.
Fifty-two percent of Americans describe the economy as very or somewhat good, while 48 percent say it is very or somewhat poor.
“That marks the first time since Obama took office that significantly more people describe the economy as ‘good’ than ‘poor,’ and only the second time since then that a majority has described the nation’s economy as ‘good,’” the poll says.
What that means is that presidential hopefuls, including Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and GOP senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, and Marco Rubio of Florida, will have a find another issue to wrangle voters to the polls.
Since Clinton’s announcement last week that she will seek office a second time, she has focused her campaign rhetoric on helping the middle class return to its former strength.
A Clinton campaign spokesman told NewsOne in an email response that the president’s poll numbers only strengthen her message.
“Hillary Clinton is running for president to build an economy for tomorrow, not yesterday, and wants to build on the positive work President Obama has done — work she believes he’s finally getting credit for,” the spokesman, Tyrone Gayle wrote.
A Republican strategist tried to downplay the good news in an emailed statement to NewsOne, saying the poll numbers were flat at best.
“African American unemployment is still over 10 percent and Black males have been hit the hardest in this sluggish economy,” Ron Christie, CEO of Christie Strategies, a political consulting firm, and former special assistant to President George W. Bush, writes. “I believe GOP candidates and operatives will continue to call for replacement of [Obamacare] with legislation that will not stifle economic growth. The President’s pledge to cut the debt in half has not come to fruition and history, rather than Republicans up for election in 2016, will cast the final verdict on his economic stewardship.”
Christie’s comment dovetails with messages from the candidates, whose press offices did not respond to email queries from NewsOne. Paul’s campaign page boasts: “I want to unleash the American Dream. I will return our country to freedom and prosperity.”
When first-term Florida Rubio jumped in the race earlier this month, he said, “Americans are starting to doubt their economic opportunities.” And when Cruz entered the race, he said, “the economic recovery has been lackluster, especially for jobs.”
The last time significantly more Americans called the economy “good” rather than “poor” in CNN/ORC polling was September 2007.
Democrats say the party’s message of empowerment appears to be working. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty