It’s the economy, stupid!
That was the theme of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. And the economy has continued to drive elections in the twenty years since.
Today the Nasdaq and S&P 500 had all-time closing highs, after the government reported a better-than-expected 255,000 jobs were created in July.
That strong number confirms the labor market remains strong after a May dip and the consumer-led economy is on solid footing.
Inflation is next to nothing, interest rates remain low, gas prices remain low, Wall Street is humming along and jobs are being created.
That’s an economic election recipe that strongly favors the party in power.
The last time the same party won three presidential elections in a row was 1988, when George Bush won after two terms of Ronald Reagan. At the time, Reagan’s approval rating was 53 percent.
This week, Barack Obama’s approval rating hit its highest level since just before his second inauguration. Obama’s approval rating is now 54 percent, one point higher than Reagan’s was when Bush won his third term.
The reality for Republicans is that the economy and Obama are peaking with the public at the exact right time for Hillary Clinton.
If Obama’s higher numbers aren’t a warning sign, look at the polling data. Three major surveys — Fox, NBC/WSJ and Marist/McClatchy — showed Clinton ahead this week by big margins: 10, 9 and 15 percentage points.
Donald Trump has just had the worst polling stretch for a presidential candidate at this stage since John McCain in late 2008.
Clinton now leads in all the battleground states, and a new Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll finds Clinton leading in Georgia 44 percent to 40 percent.
If Trump can’t win Georgia, he’s finished.
The only good news for Republicans is that there are 92 days to go. That can be a lifetime in a presidential campaign.