The recent flurry of news over the same-sex marriage issue has obscured signs of growing voter sentiments that the economy remains the driving issue behind the current presidential campaign.
For the past two days, most major news and political outlets, from Fox News to Politico, have focused on President Barack Obama’s decision to support same-sex marriages.
But Friday’s release of an AP-GfK poll on voters and the economy could take some of the focus off civil rights issues, and place it back on the economy, which is widely expected to be the centerpiece of the fall election campaign.
Most troubling for the Obama campaign is the trend that voters who call themselves Democrats are losing faith in the economy.
The percentage of voters who call themselves Democrats who believe the economy is “good” is down to 31 percent, from 48 percent just in February.
The poll was conducted recently, from May 3 to May 7, by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.
Another key trend in the poll is the number of people who consider themselves Independent, or leaning toward being Independent.
The sample group was about 1,000 random respondents, and there was a bigger percentage of Independents (29 percent) than Republicans (22 percent) in the group. Only 31 percent of those polled considered themselves Democrats.
Obama’s Achilles’ heel, according to the poll, is still retail gasoline prices. Just 30 percent of those polled approved of President Obama in that area – a two-year low.
The past two single-term presidents to lose re-election bids were George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, and both struggled with the economy as an election issue.
To be sure, there were other factors that hurt Bush and Carter, but the Obama campaign is also surely watching the economic numbers, including surveys.
There was also a bump in the number of people who believe unemployment will go up – and not down – in the near future, from 30 percent in February to 35 percent in May.
Scott Bomboy is the editor-in-chief of Constitution Daily.