For the first time in his presidency a plurality of the American people think they are better off now than when President Obama took over. According to a new Bloomberg poll:
“It’s starting to get better,” says survey respondent Kelsey Simeon, 21, a mechanical-engineering student at California State University, Sacramento, in a follow-up interview. “Strip malls that were empty are starting to fill up. Everyone’s going out to eat more. People are spending more money on non-necessities: clothes and iPods.”
More Americans now say they are personally better off since President Barack Obama took office than worse off, the first favorable reading for the president on that question since Bloomberg began asking in December 2010.
Thirty-eight percent say they are better off while 36 percent say they’re worse off. In September, the last time that question was asked, only 27 percent said they were better off and 44 percent said worse off.
This is some good news for the Obama campaign. While there has been a fair amount of buzz today about the divergence between CBS/NYT poll showing Obama with a new low favorability rating and Gallup showing Obama with a relatively high favorable number, it is too far out from the election for such a rapidly changing number to matter.
What most people want from a leader is someone who can make their lives and the lives of their families better. If mildly improving economic conditions start getting people to view Obama as capable of delivering on that, he should be in a solid position come November.
If Romney can’t use that classic Ronald Reagan question, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” to seriously wound Obama, it is tough to see how the rather unliked and uncharismatic Romney can get enough people to vote for him.