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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Benenson: Dems’ ‘Guiding Light’ Must Be ‘A More Secure Economy’

From a strategy memo entitled “The Polling Lay of the Land” by Obama pollster Joel Benenson:

Our data continues to show, unequivocally, that the nation’s economic health remains voters’ overriding priority.
Even amid a cascade of news cycles focused on the Affordable Care Act, Syria, the government shutdown and the NSA, voters’ primary focus has never shifted from their economic well-being and financial security.
While we have seen a marked increase in voters ‘ sense of financial stability throughout most of 2013 – worries about the immediate loss of jobs or homes had subsided – we have a long way to go before voters feel truly secure in their economic futures, and that of the nation.
Fully aware of the long road ahead, voters are extremely eager to see Washington once again put economic issues at the center of their attention.
Over the course of 2013, we have seen improvement in voters ‘ views of the economy. Four years of deeply entrenched pessimism around the economy has finally begun to give way to a brighter outlook.
After steadily improving since January, this June we reached high points on two key metrics we have been tracking since 2009:
68% of voters described the economy as “getting better”, a 9-point increase over our 2012 average. Just 29% – mostly Republicans – said the economy is “getting worse”.
21% of voters rated the economy as “excellent” or “good”. This number was in almost invariably in single digits from 2009 until 2012 , and averaged 13% throughout that year.
However, the government shutdown and debt ceiling fight all but wiped out this burgeoning optimism. We are starting to see these metrics slowly creep back up, but the shutdown and ongoing dysfunction have had a lingering effect on views of the economy.
The number saying the economy is getting better dropped to a shutdown low of 50% in mid-October…By last week, this figure had ticked back up to 56%, still well below the highs of the first and second quarters of this year.
Our guiding light needs to be our focus on creating a more secure economy for hard-working American families, with smart investments now and for the next generation.

Benenson has more so say on this topic of critical importance, and we urge Dems who want to win in 2014 to give it a thoughtful read.

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