It's NOT the economy, stupid!

If you've ever paid even the smallest bit of attention, you know the phrase, "It's the economy, stupid."...

Posted: Sep 18, 2018 8:18 AM
Updated: Sep 18, 2018 8:18 AM

If you've ever paid even the smallest bit of attention, you know the phrase, "It's the economy, stupid."

That line entered our political lexicon during the 1992 presidential campaign, when James Carville, a strategist for the presidential bid of then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, scrawled it on a whiteboard in Clinton's campaign headquarters.

Business, economy and trade

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Donald Trump

Economy and economic indicators

Gallup Organization

Political Figures - US

The message was simple -- and right: Voters care first, second and third about the economy, as understood by how they were feeling about their own financial well-being. Everything else was just noise.

And for the next three decades or so, that mantra has ruled electoral politics. How the economy is doing -- or is perceived to be doing -- will tell you everything you need to know about a candidate or a party's chances of winning.

Which brings us to the current moment -- and the current President: Donald Trump.

All economic indicators suggest things are roaring in the country. The unemployment rate in August was 3.9%. The Gross Domestic Product increased 4.2% in the second quarter of 2018. And yet Trump's job approval has dipped of late; in a new CNN-SSRS poll released earlier this month, just 36% approved of how Trump was handling the gig. (Trump's overall job approval was just over 40% in the Real Clear Politics average of polls.)

Why the disconnect? A new piece of data from Gallup provides the answer -- or at least an answer. Just 12% of people say that any aspect of the economy is the most important issue facing the country. That's the lowest score ever recorded for the economy on that question, which Gallup has been asking since 1991 in its current form.

What's replaced the economy as the most important issue? According to Gallup, it's "dissatisfaction with government/poor leadership." In the latest Gallup survey, 29% cited unhappiness with the government and its leaders as the country's most pressing problem.

That data comes amid increasingly public concerns from smart Republican strategists that the party isn't getting the credit on the economy it needs to head off a potentially disastrous result at the ballot box in 50 days.

"People think the economy is doing well, but that's not what they're voting on -- they're voting on the chaos of the guy in the White House," GOP pollster Glen Bolger told The New York Times over the weekend.

It doesn't take a political genius to see the writing on the wall here for Republicans. The 2018 election is shaping up as a straight referendum on a deeply unpopular President. Trump's inability -- and unwillingness -- to recede into the background or tone things down for the good of the party ensures that he will continue to overshadow everything else in voters' minds. And that includes the demonstrable successes of the economy.

The Point: The Gallup numbers are just another data point suggesting that Republicans are in for a very rough election, seven weeks and a day from today. Even more worrisome? Trump seems either oblivious to or ignorant of that very fact.

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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
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