The Hotline notes a bump in the ratings for the economy, along with an improvement in the President's poll numbers:
The Big Number: 36
Every day, we'll highlight one poll number that we think teaches us something new about the political landscape. Today's big number is 36 -- the percentage of Americans who rate economic conditions in the U.S. as excellent or good, according to a Gallup poll out today. That's not huge, but it is up 7% since the last time the question was asked, in mid-May.
Could it be that Americans are getting used to higher gas prices? While 22% of Americans called energy costs the most important problem facing the U.S. in the May poll, just half that number said the same thing in today's survey. Is it possible that the U.S., already mocked in Europe for whining about $3/gallon gas when they're paying $6 or $7, is getting used to the high price of oil?
But that's just one possible answer. Another: Could we be suffering from summer optimism? Pres. Bush's approval ratings are up modestly, and just about every indicator that goes something like "Is ___ getting better?" is up as well. If it were still cold and snowy, would these numbers be changing? [REID WILSON]
With regard to the question of whether Americans are getting used to higher gas prices, I've noted in the past that they're not really all that high. Plus, gas prices don't seem to have had much effect on elections in the past.
I'll also note that if the President's numbers continue to rebound, he will reach a point - perhaps at 40% approval or so - where the MSM's herd mentality leads to a raft of stories about how the President is doing better, and wondering whether it's because of the improved situation in Iraq, the improvements in the economy, or his handling of the immigration question. I say this because the MSM is very predictable. They may LIKE the story that the President's numbers are plummeting, but if they're rising, they still must find SOMETHING to write. And if the numbers are rising, then they have to find SOMETHING to ascribe it to. That might lead to a series of stories about how things aren't really so bad on the economy and Iraq.
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