Perception vs. Reality
Despite recent US Labor Department reports showing that nearly 1.2 million new jobs were created so far this year — indicating a likely economic recovery — American voters seem disbelieving of the news. According to a new AP/Ipsos-Public Affairs poll, 57% of Americans believe that “more jobs have been lost” during the most recent six months — while only 36% correctly said that more jobs were created. Democrats — FYI — agree that more jobs were created, but counter the reports with claims that these are largely low-paying jobs and that the number of unemployed has also increased during the same period. Other interesting numbers: 46% said they would be “less comfortable” to make a major purchase now versus six months ago (38% answered “more comfortable”); and a 56%-to-40% majority say the US is on the “wrong track.” This seemingly indicates the frequent bad news from Iraq, high gas prices, and other pessimistic stories are outweighing the perception of economic “good news” for the President. Bush will have his hands full — not by changing course — but by trying to change perceptions.
The same thing helped defeat Bush 41, who was in the midst of a 4.7% growth quarter when he was defeated in 1992. Still, this recovery has been ongoing for months; one would think perception would catch up with reality.