A Reality Check on the State of the Economy

In tonight’s State of the Union, the New York Times reports that President Obama will, “use (the address) to effectively declare victory over the economic hard times that dominated his first six years in office.”

The problem for the President is that while polling does indicate improving public opinion about the state of the economy, the American people are not yet ready to join the President in declaring victory over these economic hard times.

To wit, in the most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal national survey:

  • Just 31% of voters say the country is headed in the right direction, while 59% say it is off on the right track.
  • Only 23% of voters say that “recovering” is the word that best describes the state of the nation today, while 38% say the word that best describes the state of the nation is “troubled” (19%) or “deteriorating (19%).
  • Forty-five percent (45%) of adults are satisfied with the state of the economy, while 54% are dissatisfied.
  • Twenty-eight percent (28%) of adults say their own financial situation is getting better, compared to 25% who say it is getting worse. Forty-seven percent (47%) say their financial situation is staying about the same.
  • Creating jobs is seen by 85% of adults an issue that should be an absolute top priority for President Obama and this Congress. In comparison, less than half (47%) of adults see reducing income inequality as an absolute top priority.

The data makes it clear that while the President may be anxious to move on to other issues, the top priority of the American people continues to be jobs and a still recovering American economy.

The poll was conducted January 14-17, 2015 by Republican pollster Bill McInturff and Democratic pollster Fred Yang. This analysis is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of NBC, WSJ, or of Hart Research Associates.

Public Opinion Strategies