Last week, newly-minted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to spin recent improvements in the U.S. economy as the product of an incoming Republican-controlled Congress. According to a CBS News Poll out today, the American public isn’t buying it.
According to the poll, a plurality of Americans, 43 percent, believe that the president’s economic policies have helped the economy, while 34 percent believe they have hurt. The president’s overall approval rating is also on the rise. After a year of dismal numbers that left Democratic candidates for office unwilling to appear beside him in the months prior to the November election, the president’s approval numbers have jumped from 39 in October to 46 percent today.
McConnell’s effort to give the Republicans credit for strong economic growth was a bank shot, at best. On the Senate floor last week, he said, “After so many years of sluggish growth, we’re finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope. The uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama administration’s long tenure in Washington: the expectation of a new Republican Congress.”
Not surprisingly, the public appears more inclined to give a disproportionate amount of credit for the economic recovery to the person in the White House, just as it saddled Obama with a disproportionate amount of the blame during the slow economic recovery.
The poll found that almost all of the improvement in the president’s approval numbers came from independent voters changing their perception of him. Among those that don’t self-identify as Democrats or Republicans, Obama’s approval numbers have surged from 34 among independents last October to 45 today.
Among other things, the poll also found that the percentage of Americans who believe a terrorist attack on the U.S. is at least “somewhat likely” in coming months has not changed significantly since the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris left 17 innocents and three terrorists dead.
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