(This article was co-authored by Glen Bolger and Jim Hobart.)
For months now, Democrats have been touting the success of the 2009 stimulus package and cherrypicking economic data to attempt to convince Americans that the economy has turned the corner and is headed in the right direction. When the most recent economic figures showed the unemployment rate declining to 9.7% (still well over the 8% Democrats promised it would not rise above), Speaker Pelosi issued a statement saying that, “Today’s jobs report marks a welcome step in the right direction for our economy and our families.” This type of rosy rhetoric on the economy is nothing new. In July of last year, Speaker Pelosi issued a similar statement, where she hailed the growth in the GDP as “dramatic evidence that the economy is headed in the right direction.”
Unfortunately for Pelosi and the Democrats, their right direction rhetoric is at odds with the opinions of Americans. A recent ABC/Washington Post poll made it very clear that the vast majority of Americans do not share the Democrats’ view that the economy is headed in the right direction.
Some key data points from the survey:
• Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Americans do not believe the recession is over.
• When asked not about the economy as a whole, but just about their own personal experiences, 53% say that the economy has not yet begun to recover. Among these voters, 72% believe that the economy will not begin to recover in the next year.
• Optimism is in short supply even among the 45% who say that in their personal experience, the economy has begun to recover. Three-quarters (75%) of these Americans say that the recovery has been weak.
Despite these data and similar data from countless polls, Democrats continue to talk about the economy turning the corner and tout the completely unverifiable “jobs created/jobs saved” numbers in their districts. Republicans should welcome this type of rhetoric. In September, we wrote that Republicans need to hold Democrats’ feet to the fire on this issue. Tremendous Republican candidates in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts did just that, and the result was resounding victories in all three states. If Democrats insist on continuing to make these claims, and Republicans continue to call them to the carpet on it, we will have many more Republican victories to celebrate this November.