LAMBRO: Obama, the face of failure

Voters lose hope in president’s economy

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

Finally, a pollster asked voters the one question that matters in this presidential election: Does Barack Obama know how to fix the economy?

When the Pew Research Center asked that question in the days following Mitt Romney’s strong performance in last week’s presidential debate, a majority of the voters answered no.

The central failure of Mr. Obama’s presidency centers on his demonstrated inability to restore the economy to full health and vigor after trillions of dollars in job-stimulus spending that created few jobs but added $5 trillion to the federal debt.

Pew put the question to likely voters this way: “Do you agree or disagree with the criticism that ‘Obama doesn’t know how to turn the economy around?’”

A 54 percent majority agreed that he didn’t know how to rebuild our economy, and 44 percent disagreed.

While Romney voters were nearly unanimous in this dim view of Mr. Obama’s capabilities, 11 percent of Obama voters “share this view,” Pew reported Monday.

Notably, a sizable share of swing voters, by a margin of 54 percent to 39 percent, agreed that Mr. Obama does not know how to strengthen the economy and get it back on track.

The Pew poll and other post-debate surveys found that Mr. Romney’s performance in the debate erased Mr. Obama’s lead and dramatically changed the way voters perceive his Republican challenger.

A whopping 66 percent of voters said Mr. Romney turned in a far better performance than Mr. Obama in the Oct. 3 debate, compared to 20 percent who said Mr. Obama prevailed.

Mr. Romney “is now better regarded on most personal dimensions and on most issues than he was in September,” Pew said. He “is seen as the candidate who has new ideas and is viewed as better able than Mr. Obama to improve the jobs situation and reduce the budget deficit.”

If there was any question about Mr. Obama’s incompetence on economic policy, it was reconfirmed in Friday’s weak jobs report. The economy added 114,000 jobs in September, fewer than the 142,000 jobs in August, and fewer still than the jobs created in July.

While the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent, it did not indicate the economy suddenly was getting stronger or growing at a faster rate. A chief reason behind the rate’s decline was that the number of self-employed jumped dramatically, says business economist Peter Morici at the University of Maryland.

“With the economy growing so slowly, many of these [newly self-employed Americans] likely are workers laid off during the economic collapse who have established home-based businesses,” Mr. Morici writes in his latest analysis.

The paramount reason the unemployment rate has fallen from its 10 percent peak in October 2009 “has been accomplished through a significant drop in the percentage of adults participating in the labor force — either working or looking for work,” Mr. Morici said.

If the labor participation rate was the same today as it was four years ago, real unemployment would be 10 percent.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is the chief political correspondent for The Washington Times, the author of five books and a nationally syndicated columnist. His twice-weekly United Feature Syndicate column appears in newspapers across the country, including The Washington Times. He received the Warren Brookes Award For Excellence In Journalism in 1995 and in that same year was the host and co-writer of ...

Latest Stories

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts