The White House

Why Doesn't Obama Benefit From An Improving Economy?

President Obama is receiving some of his worst polling numbers amid a surprisingly strong and growing economy.

By Ben Levin | July 3, 2014

 It was the best of times, for the U.S. economy. It was the worst of times ... for President Barack Obama. 

"Breaking news this morning, of course, the June jobs report blows past expectations." (Via CNBC)

"Thirty-three percent of voters think the president is the very worst since 1945." (Via Fox Business)

A poll released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University says Americans consider Obama the worst president since World War II.

And that poll attracted attention from across the political spectrum. (Via U.S. News & World ReportNew York PostVoice of America)

"Wow. He's followed by George W. Bush and Richard Nixon. The poll also shows close to 50 percent say the country would have been better off today if Mitt Romney beat President Obama." (Via MSNBC)

The poll comes amid a time of decreasing popularity for the president. Real Clear Politics estimates only 41 percent of Americans approve of the president.

Yet in some ways, the poll comes as a surprise for Obama. After all, only one day after its release, the U.S. had arguably its best jobs report since 2008. 

​An economist speaking to the The Wall Street Journal said it was "just the fireworks the economy needs to brighten up."

The report shows the economy added 288,000 jobs. (Via USA Today)

And the unemployment rate plunged to 6.1 percent — all of which got investors very excited. (Via Bloomberg)

"Investors think this jobs report is so solid they wound up pushing the Dow not just to 17,000 but over it to 17,000 for the first time ever." (Via CNN)

The mismatch — between a growing economy and a struggling president — has not gone unnoticed. 

In the words of New York Times reporter Dave Smith: "Jobs up. Unemployment rate down. Dow up. Obama's ratings sinking." (Via Twitter / @DaveSmithNYT)

Some attribute the gap to the perception that the economy is struggling. Fifty-seven percent of Americans still believe the U.S. economy is going downhill. (Via Gallup)

Others blame the media. A writer for Politico accuses Fox News of burying positive economic news. 

"We need to point out the real unemployment rate stands at 12.1 percent, Eric."

"And Patti Ann, have you heard about the new shocking poll ... "  (Via Fox News)

Americans might also be skeptical about the data itself. A poll conducted by YouGov in May shows only 16 percent of Americans believe the Labor Department's numbers are accurate. 

Polls aside, Obama's economic agenda remains stalled in Congress. Some analysts believe responsibility for keeping unemployment low falls to the U.S. Federal Reserve, which has its next meeting at the end of July.  

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