Despite continued signs of a halting but persistent national comeback, midterm voters remain frustrated and unhappy with the state of the economy, according to the latest POLITICO poll of likely voters in 2014 battleground states. Many appear to blame President Barack Obama: 57 percent of these voters disapprove of his economic leadership.
By every measure in the survey, a gloomy mood still pervades the electorate when it comes to kitchen-table issues: Just 23 percent say their personal financial situation has improved over the past year, versus 30 percent who say it has gotten worse.
Democrats had initially envisioned 2014 as a year when their candidates could hail the fruits of an economic turnaround. For a time, a handful of impressive monthly employment reports bolstered their hopes.
But while the economy has improved, it has not yet taken flight: Unemployment remains above 6 percent, and in August the country gained just 142,000 jobs. Candidates around the country have tempered their claims of economic improvement, including Republican governors who also initially aimed to run on their records of job creation.
Strong majorities now say that they lack the savings to grapple with an unforeseen job loss (61 percent) and that the cost of basic household items like gas and groceries has strained their finances (62 percent.)