Jobs, the Economy and Polling

Given recent news in Washington, one might assume polling numbers for our President might be on shaky ground. Yet, recent polling indicates support for the President is holding steady

In times like these, it's important to remember the famous James Carville quote: It's the economy, stupid.

Although we still have plenty of work to do to accelerate the economic recovery, recent polling indicates that the state of the economy is actually HELPING the President.

Note this passage of poll analysis from the latest Washington Post - ABC News poll:

For the first time since the 100-day mark of Obama’s first term, most say they are optimistic about the direction of the economy. More than half, 56 percent, say the economy is on the mend, the most to say so in polls since 2009.

Recent polling from Gallup also indicates that economic confidence is higher now than at any point since 2008. Note the trendline below:

Gallup Economic Confidence Index -- Weekly Averages, 2008-2013

Nate Silver believes the economic recovery is saving the President's approval ratings. This sentiment might raise eyebrows in some quarters, but Silver makes a compelling case.

A columnist at Forbes even asked if President Obama might be America's greatest economic president, recalling how bleak the economy looked at the height of the Great Recession in 2009.

Our analysis indicates that Americans measure the economy locally. In effect, the housing market, gas prices and knowing people who need a job are more reliable indicators of economic strength to most people than the national unemployment rate. A stabilizing housing market coupled with a steady chipping away at unemployment and less volatile gas prices is undoubtedly leading many Americans to feel more confident about the economic recovery - and that's showing up in polling.

President Obama should continue to talk about jobs because that's the main problem Americans think Washington needs to address. Continued investment in manufacturing and infrastructure are the best way to move the needle on jobs on a macro level - and keep his approval ratings headed in the right direction.