A Partisan Gap on the Economy

Photograph by Scott Eells/Bloomberg

A trader works in the gold and silver options pit at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Do you think the U.S. economy is getting better or worse?

Maybe your answer is informed by your political leanings.

A monthly measure yields more evidence, less than 12 weeks before the Nov. 6 election, that voters view economic progress through a partisan prism.

About 41 percent of Democrats say the economy is improving, compared with 24 percent of independents and just 5 percent of Republicans, according to Langer Research Associates, which asks respondents the better-or-worse question every month in addition to weekly questions about consumer comfort.

The share of Republicans who say that the economy is worsening rose to 67 percent from 52 percent last month.

Democrats, who want to see President Barack Obama re-elected, often cite the statistic of 29 consecutive months of private sector job growth. First Lady Michelle Obama used the number in a fundraising e-mail message this afternoon.

Republicans working to defeat Obama point to 42 straight months of a national unemployment rate above 8 percent, a record in the post-World War II era. Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan brought it up in a campaign speech yesterday in Oxford, Ohio.

Among all respondents, 45 percent say the economy is getting worse and 23 percent say it’s getting better, while 31 percent say the economy has stayed about the same. The “getting worse” number is the highest since November 2011.


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