Swing State Pres

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

January Month in Review: Economy Booms While GOP Congress Busts...and the 2016 Announcements Begin...

Suddenly it is a lot more fun to be Barack Obama.  And it’s even a bit better to be John Boehner….in part because it is a lot worse to be Mitch McConnell.

The economy has officially taken off, and you don’t really need the “Econometer” to know it.  While my invented statistic has indeed soared past 100, it does not take a fancy statistic to see that the price of gas is down, employment is up, income is up, and America’s collective wallet is feeling fuller.

"I've got to admit, it's getting better!"
And with it goes Barack Obama’s approval rating, which continues to rise and now even tops 50 in the occasional poll, while averaging 46% for a second month and a -3% net, a marked improvement over the 43%/-9% he was scoring in the last six months of 2014.  Those numbers led (in part) to the thumping of the Dems in November, but since then life has been anything but rosy for the GOP.

The much-ballyhooed GOP-controlled Congress is having trouble getting out of the gate.  They have yet to pass a significant piece of legislation.  Only the fabled Keystone Pipeline, a largely symbolic program, is close, and Obama is poised to veto (with no chance for the GOP to override the veto.)  A bill to ban abortions after 20-weeks, viewed as an easy pass for the House, was canceled after GOP moderates (yes, there are a few) revolted.  And perhaps most intriguing is the dance over funding the Department of Homeland Security, which will put the GOP’s fissures under the national microscope soon enough.

You will recall that in December, the lame-duck Congress managed to pass a Budget bill that approved spending for all departments through next September, thus avoiding a government shutdown threat.  The catch was that one department was exempted from this agreement, the Department of Homeland Security, as the GOP scrambled for a way to protest meaningfully Obama’s executive action on immigration.  The thought was, somehow the GOP could prevent the enforcement of the action by denying funding for it within the DHS budget.  This was a fairly far-fetched idea to begin with, since the immigration department is self-funded through its own fees.

The GOP’s dubious strategy faced another challenge when the Charlie Hebdo murders occurred – who wanted to be denying funding for Homeland Security in the face of a huge international terrorism story?

"This is no fun at all!"
And now the GOP is in a box.  The House indeed passed a bill the included riders to gut the immigration action, which has no chance of securing 60 votes in the Senate (or the 67 required to override a certain Obama veto.)  And here is where it gets interesting.  Boehner has no interest in doing the hard labor of finding a way to water down his bill and get it through.  He wants Mitch McConnell to experience that special pain.  He chortled mightily about McConnell:  “He has a tough job!”  McConnell, of course, wants the House to fix its own bill.  At this point, with a February 27th deadline looming, there is no path forward to break the logjam.  The Democrats watch with mounting amusement.

Stay tuned on this one.   And on the horizon?  At some point this spring, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the Obamacare subsidies in states that chose not to create their own exchange.  With Obamacare firmly entrenched and millions of Americans benefiting, the GOP has absolutely no plan to deal with the suddenly unpalatable consequences of the Court actually ruling against Obamacare.  Already one major GOP claim – that Obamacare was “ruining the economy” – has been completely refuted (see: Econometer).  I’m sure John Boehner is ever so quietly rooting for the Court to let those subsidies stand.

"Bye bye!"
In the meantime, the initial baby steps in sorting out the 2016 field have begun, with the only public movement being the separate announcements by the 2012 GOP ticket -- Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan – that they are both officially out of the race.  That narrows the GOP field to about 20!  Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is taking her sweet time to announce her own near-certain candidacy, and why not?




OBAMA APPROVAL RATING

Obama’s momentum continues as his negative inches toward zero.  A surging economy combined with ignoring a highly unpopular Congress turns out to be a pretty strong combination.  If he gets to 50%, you may actually see him on the campaign trail for Hillary in 2016 – at her request.

Obama Approval Rating
Election Day 2012
10-Nov
8-Dec
12-Jan
10-Feb
  Approve
49.6
43.1
43.8
45.7
46.3
  Disapprove
47.4
52.4
52.1
50.7
49.3
  Net
2.2
-9.3
-8.3
-5.0
-3.1


ECONOMETER

Nothing like gas prices dropping like a stone and another solid (if not spectacular) GDP report to propel the Econometer ever northward.  Consumer confidence is soaring as well.  Do you remember that Mitt Romney promised to get the unemployment rate down below 6% within two years?  Great job, Mitt, you did it, even faster than promised!   Who knew that your secret plan was to lose?

Econometer
Election Day 2012
10-Nov
8-Dec
12-Jan
10-Feb
Econometer
0.0
82.1
89.4
99.9
108.8
  Unemployment Rate
7.9
5.8
5.8
5.6
5.7
  Consumer Confidence
73.1
94.5
88.7
92.6
102.9
  Price of Gas
3.71
3.29
2.94
2.52
2.17
  Dow Jones
 13,330
    16,836
    17,758
    17,693
    17,543
  GDP
3.1
3.5
3.9
5.0
2.6

OBAMACARE RATINGS

What if it turns out that America actually comes to like Obamacare?  That may happen sooner than you think.  After all, the net negative is down to a -7%, a marked jump in the last month.  Will it continue?

Obamacare
Election Day 2012
10-Nov
8-Dec
12-Jan
10-Feb
  For/Favor
40.0
38.3
40.3
37.7
42.0
  Oppose/Against
50.8
51.7
54.0
49.3
49.0
  Net
-10.8
-13.4
-13.7
-11.7
-7.0

CONGRESSIONAL GENERIC BALLOT

Should we really be surprised that the Dems are now ahead of the GOP in the generic ballot?  That didn’t take very long.

Generic Ballot
Election Day 2012
10-Nov
8-Dec
12-Jan
10-Feb
  Democrat
46.3
43.0
40.3
39.0
39.3
  Republican
46.0
44.8
41.8
39.2
37.8
  Net
0.3
-1.8
-1.5
-0.2
1.5

2016 PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Mitt Romney’s brief flirtation with a third run for the presidency jolted the GOP race for an instant, as reflected in his standing in these very early polls.  Jeb Bush will likely ascend to the top of the charts over the next month, but the field remains the very definition of “wide open.”  The Democrats, on the other hand, are poised for the opposite, a “coronation” of Hillary.


12-Jan
10-Feb

12-Jan
10-Feb
  Clinton
63
59
  Romney
20
25
  Warren
11
13
  Bush
14
13
  Biden
11
11
  Carson
7
10
  Cuomo
2
4
  Huckabee
7
9
  Sanders
4
3
  Paul
7
8
  Webb
2
2
  Walker
5
8
  O'Malley
1
1
  Cruz
5
7
  Schweitzer

1
  Christie
9
5
  All other
6
6
  Rubio
4
4
  Ryan
6
3
  Perry
4
3
  Jindal
2
2
  Kasich
2
1
  Santorum
2
1
  All other
6
1


3 comments:

  1. A different perspective: "Booming" for Wall Street, .01%, corps et al-Not so much for the 99.9%, imo/observation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct. Tell me how we have a booming economy when nearly 50 % of Americans are still on food stamps. Retail stores are closing by the dozens all over the country. Now that is what I would call not booming.

      Delete
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