Jobs Are the Answer to Low Public Approval

Public Opinion Is Historically Tied to the Employment Rate

Analysis from CAP Action's David Madland and Hannah Walton shows, throughout history, public opinion of the government improves as the employment rate rises.

Poll after poll shows that the public is deeply concerned about our country’s economy and political leadership, and a new Democracy Corps survey finds that a majority of voters (54 percent) believe that President Barack Obama’s economic policies have done nothing to relieve the recession.

Supporters of President Obama’s economic agenda often lament that he isn’t getting sufficient credit from the public for preventing the Great Recession from turning into the Great Depression. The public mood shouldn’t be so negative, they argue, because independent analysis demonstrates that the president’s actions helped reverse the economy’s steep decline, prevented continuing job loss, and has spurred four straight quarters of economic growth.

The president’s actions have certainly made things better than they would be otherwise. But a look back at history shows that there is nothing special about how the public is reacting to today’s economy. The majority of the public gives a president and his economic policies high marks when jobs are plentiful and low marks when unemployment is high.

Read the full memo at CAP Action.

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David Madland

Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project