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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Morning in America

Posted on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Perhaps it's not so much news that Barack Obama is still popular - 64 percent according to the most recent AP and Gallup polls, 63 percent by Pew and an outlying 54 percent from our Republican friends at Rasmussen. You could argue that he's still getting a honeymoon, although the right has already jumped that ship in an almost comically vitriolic way, what with Glenn Beck not understanding the insults he throws out (see "fascist") and the Fox News crowd organizing those silly little old people parties on tax day. But that's not what's important in the grand scheme of things.

What is important, if you want to see how the midterms will go next year, is the right track-wrong track number - basically, a measure of how optimistic Americans are about the future. For the first time in five years, despite being at the bottom of the deepest recession in 70 years, the right tracks outnumber the wrong tracks.

As the AP tells it: And yet, the percentage of Americans saying the country is headed in the right direction rose to 48 percent, up from 40 percent in February. Forty-four percent say the nation is on the wrong track. Not since January 2004, shortly after the capture of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, has an AP survey found more "right direction" than "wrong direction" respondents. The burst of optimism didn't last long in 2004.

The week before the November election, two separate polls put the "right track" percentage at 11 - which is to say, nobody. The week before inauguration, the CBS/NY Times poll had it at 15 percent.

For whatever reason, Americans are more optimistic about the future. Now granted, we are by nature a fickle lot, but the trend lines on this one bode well for the Democratic Party in 2010, particularly if the predictions are right that the recession will end this year and begin improving in 2010.

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