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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Recovery? Not in the Public's Mind

The latest economic news is fairly good, but why does it not show up in the polls?  James Hohmann writes at The Washington Post:
Scott Clement, director of The Post’s polling unit, noted that the average American is making less today than he or she was 15 years ago. Real median household income was $56,500 in 2015, the Census bureau reported, up from $53,700 in 2014. But that’s below the peak median income registered in 1999 — $57,909. “While these reports are ‘good,’ some represent a return to previous economic levels before the recession, not outright improvement,” he said. “A Quinnipiac poll in May asked voters to rate the economy – 2 percent called it ‘excellent,’ 30 percent ‘good,’ 40 percent ‘not so good’ and 27 percent ‘poor.’ That’s better than the single digits seen in the depths of the recession, but it’s still a net negative.”
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Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute: "This seems to be first recovery where we haven’t seen an increase in consumer confidence that matches the increase in other objective metrics. In other words, the larger economy may have improved, but people are worried about the rug being pulled out from under them. In past (business) cycles, people were more hopeful, expecting they would have to deal with fluctuations but that there would always be an upturn at the end. This time, people are not ‘enjoying’ the recovery. Rather they are worried about an even worse downturn just around the corner because the American economy is not as resilient as it once was.”
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Wonkblog’s Jim Tankersley notes that certain, very specific groups were left behind by the gains of 2015: “All of the income gains effectively came in cities and suburbs, while none of them flowed to rural areas,” he writes on the front page of today’s Post. “In states that expanded Medicaid, allowing more low-income people to be eligible, the uninsured rate in 2015 was 7.2 percent. In states that did not expand, the rate was 12.3 percent.”