The Democrats are losing the battle of public perceptions over which party can best improve the economy, according to a new analysis by prominent Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and other strategists.
Greenberg's Study for Democracy Corps, a Democrat-oriented research organization, finds that, "Although voters do not trust either party right now to create jobs, the Republicans are more trusted on the economy, business and big business, and spending and deficits….Democrats are losing the economic argument because right now voters do not see how increased spending helps the economy and they fear increased debt will prevent the economy from growing."
Today's unemployment update from the Labor Department probably won't do much to ease the anxiety. It found that the jobless rate was 9 per cent in October, very little change from the 9.1 per cent in September.
The Democracy Corps says, "The mood on the economy is as bleak as we have seen it in recent years. By a two-to one ratio, voters are pessimistic about the future of the middle class." And the least optimistic people are union members, white women (both married and unmarried), non-college educated whites, and white voters living in rural areas outside the South. All of these groups have been hit hard by the recession and they will be crucial in the 2012 election.
The best path for the Democrats, according to the analysis, is to focus on helping the middle class through such policies as "breaking the nexus of money and power in Washington and Wall Street," showing serious concern about reducing public and personal debt, and restricting the excesses of big financial institutions and banks and Washington politicians who fail to properly regulate them.
The analysis was done by Greenberg, Democratic strategist James Carville, and Democracy Corps political analyst Erica Seifert. Greenberg and Carville were senior advisers to President Bill Clinton.