Friday presented striking moments for the sitting President, as a well-known analyst from CNN issued an urgent heads-up to the Biden team. Particularly, the 2024 election looms on the horizon, where Biden’s success seems threatened unless there’s a fundamental shift in the public’s perception of the current state of the economy. The analyst in question, Errol Louis, a political anchor from Spectrum News, expressed these thoughts as he made a guest appearance on ‘CNN This Morning’.
Louis elucidated that the administration has banked heavily on a term— ‘Bidenomics’, which they believe ideally captures the essence of their economic policies. Notably, the economy gravitates as the prime concern among the voter base traditionally, so anchoring the campaign message around it seemed a logical move. However, Louis added, polling data hint at a rather disturbing trend: the public’s reception of the President’s handling of the economy may not be as favorable as one would hope.
Inflation is surely a major contributing factor to the worsening perceptions, but Louis pointed out there’s more. Hidden among the big, scary economic indicators, certain ‘misconceptions’, as he put it, seem to be shaping the people’s judgment. There’s a pervasive feeling that seems to question the direction of the economy.
Expressing real concern, Louis clearly stated that even if objective measures indicate an improving economy, the President might meet with unprecedented resistance unless the voters ‘perceive it in time.’ In other words, if the positive changes are not perceptible at a street level, an election can take an unexpected turn. The clock is ticking for Biden, and the trajectory does not appear promising.
On Saturday following Louis’ observations, curiosity led journalists to probe President Biden on his economic forecast for the coming year. His response— a confident, ‘All good. Take a look. Start reporting it the right way’ drew attention. The suggestion being that the press perhaps isn’t narrating a fair story regarding the progress made under his administration.
President Biden’s criticism of the media isn’t new. Previous instances have seen him accuse parts of the press of undervaluing the positive impacts and over-amplifying negatives of his administration. Yet, the question remains— is the public suffering from an incorrect narrative, or are they responding to their personal experiences with the economy?
In a talk with Fox News Chief Washington Correspondent Mike Emanuel, Steve Moore, Chief Economist at FreedomWorks, remarked that Biden’s remarks seem ‘out of sync’ with the Americans on the ground. He cautioned the notion of citizens undergoing financial stress, which starkly contrasts Biden’s optimistic outlook.
Moore highlighted a profoundly unsettled aspect of American lives. The ‘average’ American household, he stated, has lost around $2,000 in purchasing power when adjusted for inflation. These pocketbook matters strike right at the heart of financial wellbeing and are noticeable and felt by citizens, thereby shaping their perceptions and opinions.
In addition, Moore connected the fillip of pessimism to the escalating personal and national debts. He proposed these as influential factors, possibly explaining why many Americans harbor negative sentiments about our economic future. The numbers themselves are concerning. National debt has witnessed an increase of $6 trillion over the past three years, while personal credit card debt stands at a whopping $1.1 trillion.
Reflections of these enormous numbers are prominently seen through recent survey results. For instance, a particular Fox News poll offers a disheartening statistic. There is a mere 14% of the populace who feel that Biden’s economic strategies have bettered their personal finances.
Moreover, a staggering 46% openly expressed that the current administration’s policies have unfavorably impacted their positions financially. It’s essential to note here that the dissatisfaction extends beyond party lines, indicating a substantive issue rather than partisan disagreement.
Perhaps most surprising is the Fox News Poll’s finding that even within the Democratic Party, the perception of the economy is fairly gloomy, with 61% agreeing on the ‘bad condition’ of the economy. The figures are more severe further across the spectrum, with 93% of Republicans and an overwhelming 85% amongst independent voters echoing similar sentiments.
The collective point of these numbers drives towards one reality: effective economic policies are crucial not only for improving the actual condition of the average American but equally for crafting the atmosphere around an election. The challenge for the President lies in swaying public sentiment, or even more importantly, ushering in noticeable improvements in the economy— quickly.