There are competing explanations for why President Obama's political standing has improved of late -- it's rarely just one thing -- but don't discount the importance of growing optimism.
Public confidence in the U.S. economy is bolstering President Barack Obama's re-election chances even as Americans continue to view his stewardship skeptically.Americans by 43 percent to 33 percent see themselves as better off rather than worse off since Obama took office in January 2009, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted Sept. 21-24. [...]"I certainly don't think it's where we want to be, but it's better," says poll respondent Mica Darley-Emerson, 34, of Camp Dennison, Ohio, who with her husband just bought a new house with a yard and screened porch to raise their 18-month-old daughter. "We leveraged ourselves to the hilt to do it, but we felt optimistic enough about the future to make that investment."
We learned yesterday that consumer confidence is up; Gallup's economic confidence index has clearly improved; and the most recent NBC/WSJ poll found a growing number of Americans believe the nation is on the right track and that the economy will continue to improve.
This is not to say Americans suddenly consider the status quo "morning in America," but Republicans hoped frustration and pessimism would be the predominant public attitude at this point in the 2012 race, and there's increasing evidence of the opposite. When coming to terms with Obama's advantage at the polls, this very likely explains a lot.