Bad Tidings for McCain, GOP in new Poll

Rick Moran
A new New York Times/CBS poll shows an astonishing 81% of Americans believe the country is "on the wrong track." It is the highest number ever recorded for that question since it first was asked in the early 1990's.

The number is up from last year when 69% believed we were on the wrong track.

The difference today is the economy. People are much more pessimistic about the future:

A majority of nearly every demographic and political group — Democrats and Republicans, men and women, residents of cities and rural areas, college graduates and those who finished only high school — say the United States is headed in the wrong direction.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the country was worse off than five years ago; just 4 percent said it was better off. The dissatisfaction is especially striking because public opinion usually hits its low point only in the months and years after an economic downturn, not at the beginning of one.

Today, however, Americans report being deeply worried about the country even though many say their own personal finances are still in fairly good shape. Only 21 percent of respondents said the overall economy was in good condition, the lowest such number since late 1992, when the recession that began in the summer of 1990 had already been over for more than a year.

In the latest poll, two in three people said they believed the economy was in recession today.
The efficacy in relying on public opinion to determine if the country is in recession is doubtful. Nevertheless, such attitudes easily become self-fulfilling when the perception of a downturn affects the way people spend and save.

This is not good news for John McCain and the GOP. People who think the country is headed in the wrong direction rarely vote for the incumbent party. However, in this case, the Democrats may have something to worry about as well. Approval ratings for Congress are worse than they are for the incumbent Republican president. But people tend to punish the party of the president during general elections than they do the party in control of Congress which is more common in off year contests.

McCain's challenge is to distance himself just enough from Bush that he stands on his own two feet while not alienating Mr. Bush's core 30% support among Republicans. It is a balancing act that many in the past have failed to do (see Al Gore) but will be necessary if McCain wishes to avoid a backlash against the party of Bush among the general public.

House GOP leader Representative Boehner
believes that Republicans will actually pick up seats in the election in November. This is surely wishful thinking as the party has had dozens of retirements as well as having to face well financed challengers among some other at-risk seats.

This poll won't help their chances any, that's for sure.

A new New York Times/CBS poll shows an astonishing 81% of Americans believe the country is "on the wrong track." It is the highest number ever recorded for that question since it first was asked in the early 1990's.

The number is up from last year when 69% believed we were on the wrong track.

The difference today is the economy. People are much more pessimistic about the future:

A majority of nearly every demographic and political group — Democrats and Republicans, men and women, residents of cities and rural areas, college graduates and those who finished only high school — say the United States is headed in the wrong direction.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the country was worse off than five years ago; just 4 percent said it was better off. The dissatisfaction is especially striking because public opinion usually hits its low point only in the months and years after an economic downturn, not at the beginning of one.

Today, however, Americans report being deeply worried about the country even though many say their own personal finances are still in fairly good shape. Only 21 percent of respondents said the overall economy was in good condition, the lowest such number since late 1992, when the recession that began in the summer of 1990 had already been over for more than a year.

In the latest poll, two in three people said they believed the economy was in recession today.
The efficacy in relying on public opinion to determine if the country is in recession is doubtful. Nevertheless, such attitudes easily become self-fulfilling when the perception of a downturn affects the way people spend and save.

This is not good news for John McCain and the GOP. People who think the country is headed in the wrong direction rarely vote for the incumbent party. However, in this case, the Democrats may have something to worry about as well. Approval ratings for Congress are worse than they are for the incumbent Republican president. But people tend to punish the party of the president during general elections than they do the party in control of Congress which is more common in off year contests.

McCain's challenge is to distance himself just enough from Bush that he stands on his own two feet while not alienating Mr. Bush's core 30% support among Republicans. It is a balancing act that many in the past have failed to do (see Al Gore) but will be necessary if McCain wishes to avoid a backlash against the party of Bush among the general public.

House GOP leader Representative Boehner
believes that Republicans will actually pick up seats in the election in November. This is surely wishful thinking as the party has had dozens of retirements as well as having to face well financed challengers among some other at-risk seats.

This poll won't help their chances any, that's for sure.