On March 3rd, when asked about the stock markets, President Obama responded by saying, “what I’m looking at is not the day-to-day gyrations in the stock market, but the long-term ability for the United States and the entire world economy to regain its footing. The stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics, it bobs up and down, day to day. And if you spend all of your time worrying about that, then you’re probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong,” he told reporters.
Well, pollsters use tracking to monitor reactions to new advertisements, new issues, and other events impacting the race to determine how voters are responding to the changes in the campaign. Tracking polls typically show either positive or negative movement or if they are like the nightly tracking poll during the 2004 South Dakota Senate race between John Thune and Tom Daschle, the ballot numbers will barely move over 40 days.
However, looking at the chart from Gene’s post yesterday, we see that since Barack Obama was elected the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped from 9139.27 on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 to 6626.94 on Friday, March 6, 2009, a drop of 2512.33 points (27%). Yes, in 2008 there was only one President, but I thought that was a good starting point to measure the reaction to the President-elect.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is headed in the downward trajectory which is not good for the Administration, nor for the American public. In a political campaign, if the tracking numbers for our client were headed in this direction we would be talking with the campaign to encourage them to try a new strategy to help change the dynamics of the race and move the numbers in a more positive direction.
So while I can agree with President Obama to not focus on the day to day movement in the market, the downward directional data for last seven weeks is a trend that is alarming and unhealthy for the U.S. economy. The American public (62% of whom are investors) hope the President looks at the Dow Jones trend line and decides it is time to come up with a new strategy to instill confidence in the market to get the economy moving in a new direction. Here’s hoping the President’s daily economic briefing includes a chart similar to one below. Otherwise, his tracking polls might start looking like the Dow chart. While the Dow jumped 379 points today remember the President said he does not look at the day to day gyrations in the stock market.