It has been frustrating for supporters of President Obama, but it looks like the American people are beginning to give the president credit for the nation’s economic recovery.
The most recent polls from CNN and Gallup reveal that the American people are rewarding the president with higher job approval ratings. However, Republican bias against Obama continues to hold his job approval ratings down.
In a 2011 paper, political scientists Peter Enns and Gregory McAvoy found that partisan bias delays public perception of economy, “The total effects of partisanship appear to reduce the overall response of the public to changes in economic conditions. Even for economic evaluations, partisan attachments can overwhelm motivations for accuracy. This result may hold significant economic implications. When partisan bias is high, as during the George W. Bush presidency, aggregate economic evaluations appear less responsive to the objective economy.”
Partisan bias is the reason why 40% of Republicans in the latest CNN poll rated the current state of the economy as poor. The extreme degree of partisan bias in the country is also why President Obama is unlikely to get full credit for the economic improvements that have occurred during his time in office. The good news is that polling reveals that the public is starting to catch on.
The CNN poll showed Obama’s approval rating hitting a 20 month high, while a recent Gallup poll revealed that President Obama is polling ahead of where George W. Bush was at the end of his sixth year in office. Obama is likely to see his approval ratings continue to grow as long as the economy blossoms. A president’s approval numbers tend to move in line with major economic shifts. George W. Bush was already on the downswing thanks to a stagnant economy and an unpopular war. Barack Obama is on the upswing.
The president may finally get some of the credit that he fully deserves over the next two years. Without elections, a divided Congress, or an economic crisis to get in his way, President Obama finally has a free hand to guide the country.
A good economy would also change the shape of the 2016 election, and could perfectly set the table for likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to campaign on the need for the country to stay on the right path and turn this economic growth into a Bill Clinton style economic boom. Republicans may find themselves with precious little to campaign on in 2016 if the economy continues to surge.
Instead of a lame duck, President Obama could be resurgent political force as his time in office enters its final phase.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association