Don’t you know? The economy is terrible! Stock Market is up, consumer prices down, unemployment lower, oil prices far reduced over the summer. Isn’t that awful?
Monday the Associated Press released a story which ran in papers under a number of fairly depressing headlines:
- Democrats Favored When Economy Uncertain [Editor’s Note: can someone please explain exactly when the economy is ever ‘certain’?]
- Economic uncertainties give Democrats a boost
- Democrats can handle economy better, poll suggests
- Voters favor Democrats in handling uncertain economy
- Democrats Favored Amid Uncertain Economy
- Economic jitters benefit Dems.
I know that the writers are not the same people who write the headlines. But these don’t even seem to connect fully to the story. Anyway, once more, this is a story primarily reporting the results of an opinion poll. Regardless of the topic of the poll, this is something that immediately rubs me the wrong way. I don’t particularly care what a majority of 300 Americans care about on any topic, and I especially resent it being reported as “news”. I can see why it’s a favorite of reporters, however. You neither have to dig for facts nor do research. The whole “story” is about what some people “feel”. So you can throw in whatever other collection of loosely related thoughts you’d like along with the poll results. It’s not like anyone can correlate the information anyway.
In this case, the central theme of the article by Jeannine Aversa: “With the Nov. 7 elections looming, 59 percent of voters believe Democrats would do a better job handling the economy, while 39 percent prefer Republicans _ the party that controls Congress and the White House.”
The data from this poll are not yet available, so we can really not see much more about the poll questions or responses other than what was reported in this article. Despite what the headline writers seem to be suggesting, it doesn’t seem that the respondants necessarily thought the economy was “uncertain”. But just that Democrats would do a better job. Somehow.
“Wait a second!” you say. “Didn’t the Dow cross 12,000 just today?” Well, there’s an easy answer to the fact that times are good. Just look for bad stuff to come in the future!
Never mind that gasoline prices have started dropping, that the value of their 401(k)s rises with each new Dow Jones industrial average record, and that the interest rates on their credit cards and adjustable mortgages have leveled off for now.
“Even though the economy is doing well by some indicators, voters are still nervous about the economy,” said Costas Panagopoulos, a political science professor at Fordham University.
“They watched gas prices come down but watched them go up just as precipitously not too long ago. The stock market is doing well but that doesn’t mean it can’t come crashing down in days. Voters are reluctant to be overly confident about economic trends,” he said.
We’re left to wonder how Dr. Panagopoulos is able to know about the nervous nature of the American voter. It’s a wonder they aren’t more nervous after hearing his “glass-half-empty” worries: the stock market might crash and gas prices might shoot up again. He forgot to mention that fear, famine, plague, and pestilence might become pervasive throughout the Midwest just before Christmas.
I sure don’t know how these 741 voters came to answer the questions about the economy in this way. Maybe a better story would be to find out exactly why people feel this way in light of all of the positive economic conditions.
But the general population shouldn’t be concerned that economic pessimism and wealth-envy is spread by Democratic leadership:
“The Dow is up, but people’s retirements are less secure than ever. This economy is making the super rich richer, and leaving middle-class American families further behind,” countered House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
Democrats: Rooting for economic problems… and shouting “the sky is falling” (or maybe it will be someday soon).