Public perceptions about current economic conditions and people’s optimism about the economy have managed to improve modestly over the past several months since their low last autumn according to Gallup.

Gallup Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages From July 3-Dec. 11, 2011

These are still objectively terrible economic numbers, but at least the trend is now moving ever so slowly in the right direction. This is modestly good news for President Obama given how important the economy and his stewardship of it will be in this next election. Obama’s job approval numbers have already improved slightly since their low in late August, when the economic outlook was at its recent worst.

If this trend continues for the next 11 month and isn’t reversed by something like a collapse of the Eurozone, Obama could end up with a stronger re-election possibility than the current horse race polling indicates.