Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake write at The Washington Post:
Four in 10 Americans “strongly” disapprove of how President Obama is handling job as president in the new Washington Post-ABC News poll, the highest that number has risen during his time in office and a sign of the hardening opposition to him as he seeks a second term.
While the topline numbers are troubling enough, dig deeper into them and the news gets no better for Obama. Forty-three percent of independents — a group the president spent the better part of the last year courting — strongly disapprove of the job he is doing. Forty seven percent of people 65 years of age and older — reliable voters in any election — strongly disapprove of how he is doing his job.
Overall self-reported daily U.S. consumer spending in stores, restaurants, gas stations, and online averaged $65 per day in September, down from $68 in August and from the 2011 high of $74 in July. After two months of declines, spending has now returned to March and April levels, which are some of the lowest of the year.
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke noted in his testimony before Congress on Tuesday that "Consumer behavior has both reflected and contributed to the slow pace of recovery." Gallup Daily tracking results suggest that is indeed the case. The pullback in consumer spending over the past two months coincides with an economic slowdown and a sharp decline in economic confidence. In turn, the decline in consumer spending does not bode well for the U.S. economy or the nation's retailers during the important holiday season.