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Willisms

« Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Fifty-Five -- Insolvency One Year Earlier Than Anticipated. | WILLisms.com | Quotational Therapy: Part 96 -- Howard Dean Strikes Again. »

Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 326 -- The Media & Democrats Aren't Acknowledging Our Rocking Economy.

32 Straight Months Of Job Growth-

Yet more good economic news. On the heels of yesterday's strong Q1 productivity growth numbers, the monthly job report (for April) came out this morning.

Again, things are getting better, folks (.pdf):

5point3million.gif

Accordingly, the unemployment rate stands at 4.7%, which is lower than the average rates of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s (.pdf):

unemploymentratedown.gif

Hourly compensation was up at an annual rate of 5.7% in the First Quarter, and 0.5% alone in the month of April. All of those jobs are depleting the available talent pool, which means that employers are paying more to attract and retain workers.

More jobs is always good news. Unfortunately, even after three years of uninterrupted job growth, the news is not sinking in with enough Americans.

Indeed, in a recent Fox News survey (.pdf), more people said the state of the economy was "poor" (30%) than "good" and "excellent" combined (22 + 6 = 28%). Moreover, Americans, especially Democrats, failed to demonstrate any basic factual knowledge of the economy (.pdf):

econquiz.gif

43% of Democrats describe the economy as "poor."
12% of Republicans describe the economy as "poor."

50% of Republicans describe the economy as "excellent" or "good."
13% of Democrats describe the economy as "excellent" or "good."

That's disgusting partisanship. Such stark partisan differences are also unprecedented in this current era of ubiquitous polling. Over the past few decades, partisan ratings of the economy generally ebbed and flowed, up and down, in sync, together. Sure, sometimes Republicans rated the economy higher than Democrats, and vice-versa. But, like clockwork, if members of one party viewed the economy better, the ratings from the other party also went up.

Now, not so much. American ratings on the economy fell starkly at the turn of the century. While the recovery of Republican ratings has followed closely the recovery of the economy, Democrat ratings have never recovered.

I tend to believe that many of those Democrats are responding disingenuously, knowing their responses have an impact on both policy and President Bush's political fortunes. Nonetheless, the numbers are too low, across the board. They just do not match up with the facts in front of us.

To understand why attitudes toward the economy could be so negative in the midst of economic boom times, look no further than the establishment media:

To measure the media hype, MRC analysts reviewed ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows from April 12 through May 2. During those 21 days, the networks collectively aired 183 stories about rising oil and gas prices — 125 full reports or interview segments, plus another 58 brief anchor-read items.

NBC pushed its “Pain at the Pump” theme the hardest, with 48 stories on Today and another 31 on the NBC Nightly News. ABC’s Good Morning America aired 30 stories on gas prices, plus another 29 on World News Tonight. CBS’s Early Show had 28 stories, while the CBS Evening News aired 17.

In contrast, only four network stories during this period mentioned the low unemployment rate, 4.7 percent. And after the government reported strong economic growth on April 28, ABC and NBC each aired one story, while the CBS Evening News has yet to mention that good news.

In other words, although an overwhelming body of evidence pointing to a thriving economy is accumulating by the day, the ratio of "pain at the pump" stories to "the economy is rocking" stories is roughly 30.5 to 1.

A visual of that ratio:

establishmentmediaprioritie.gif

Indeed, in that same Fox News poll (.pdf) noted above, 17% said they had generally been seeing more good news about the economy in the media, 54% said they had been seeing more bad news, and 16% said news coverage on the economy had been balanced.

Historians and political scientists are going to have a heck of a time figuring these numbers out over the next few decades. They'll probably mostly take the easy way out and blame Iraq (and Katrina), rather than hyperbiased reporting from a hyperpartisan media.


-------------------------------------

Previous Trivia Tidbit: Smog.

Posted by Will Franklin · 5 May 2006 01:32 PM

Comments

Will,

The real poll question has little to do with Bush. He is a lame duck. Let's face it. If the economy is good, that is good for incumbents despite the issues in Iraq and elsewhere.

But it is good for incumbents of both parties, not just the one in leadership. And while folks may answer like idiots because they don't check the stock market every day, folks feel the benefits of a good economy even when they hate Bush. People hate Bush so bad that they are attempting to ignore reality. But that does not mean that they hate Republican policies like lower taxes, curtailing abortion and homosexual marriage, and fighting the WOT.

That is what is so odd. The American people hate Bush, but they for the most part often without realizing it, love the economic policies of lower taxes, growing economy, etc.

Again, while we will not know the outcome of the next election until the first Wednesday in November, I suspect that despite polls and numbers indicating a hatred of Bush, most Americans are happy with their lot in life and will return their incumbents. But it will have among the lowest turnouts in history. When things are good, folks don't vote in off-term elections.

Posted by: Justin B at May 5, 2006 11:27 PM

And realistically, every congressional race involves two people, not Bush, Reid, Pelosi, etc. It is much harder for Dems to use Bush and Cheney against every Republican that it is to use Boxer, Pelosi, Reid, Dean, Kennedy, etc., against every Democrat.

When you vote Democrat, you vote to put Reid, Pelosi and Dean in power. And you can tar every Democrat with Abortion on Demand, Immediate Withdrawl from Iraq, higher taxes, etc. They have no moderates anymore. And there are so few swing races and swing districts with the Gerrymandering.

Posted by: Justin B at May 5, 2006 11:30 PM

Geez, I hope the pollsters are at least nice enough to tell the dingalings who get the answers wrong what the right answers are.

The above reminds me of a monthly poll I'm stuck on that asks whether or not we're in a recession. It doesn't bleeping matter whether people think we're in a recession. The FACT is that we aren't, and people who don't KNOW this (as opposed to "feeling" it) ought to "feel" ignorant, or misled (by MSM).

Posted by: Tom Blumer at May 8, 2006 09:49 PM