The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Consumer Confidence Almost Back Up to 1980, 1992 Levels


Over at Politico, they point out that the recent happy talk surrounding Obama’s reelection chances are . . . not quite the whole story:

To hear Democrats (and much of the media) tell it, President Barack Obama is a man on the rebound…

There is a big problem with this Pollyanna punditry: There are a bunch of real-time numbers coming in that tell a much different tale.

In short, there’s a new Congressional Budget Office report that shows unemployment likely to climb to nearly 9 percent by the election, there’s polling data showing Obama tied or trailing Mitt Romney in the most important swing states (and doing only marginally better against Ron Paul), and there is mounting evidence that the assumption of a decisive Obama fundraising advantage for the fall might be flat wrong. All of this is happening while Republicans are at their worst, with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich spending millions of dollars and using all of their air time explaining why the other is untrustworthy, deeply flawed and eminently beatable by Obama.

Back in August, former Bush strategist Mark McKinnon observed:

The average measure of the Michigan Consumer Confidence Index (the gold standard) for incumbent presidents when they win is 95.9. For incumbents when they lose, the average is 78.4. The index today is at 55.7.

This week:

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment climbed to 75 from 69.9 at the end of December. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for 74, which matched the preliminary reading. The gauge averaged 89 in the five years leading up to the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009.

In other words, under Obama, consumer confidence is almost all the way back up to the level of a losing incumbent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney , Ron Paul


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