Recovery under Obama suggest the way votes will be cast
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/11/2012 -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney used recent stock market performances to leverage pressure on U.S. president Barack Obama during the first electoral debate last week.
Romney pointed out that while the markets have rallied to pre-recession levels, overall economic growth has remained unchanged. However, trends show that the American population often consider market performance as synonymous with the economy itself, a fact that may well benefit Obama as election day looms large.
Romney suggested that the average citizen does not feel any better off than when Obama came to power, but as the Dow Jones closed with a 203.16 point higher monthly average than in December 2007, the 50% of Americans who have investments may well believe the opposite. “If you’re trying to get people to think about the past four years, and ask them if they are better off now than they were four years ago; well, if you’re in the market, you have to feel better about your retirement and the money you have, and that’s part of the reason for Obama’s cushion in the polls right now.” said University of Miami political science Professor Bryan Marshall.
Consumer confidence is seen as an important barometer for how people will vote come November 6th. “Historically, we know from past elections that people’s perceptions of the stock market and the economy are very important, and a positive view tends to help the incumbent,” Marshall added. “If you look at the polls that ask people the question: ‘Do you think the economy is going to be doing better a year from now?’ Overwhelmingly, something like two-thirds of voters, say, ‘Yes.’”
Long term trends may not bode well for the country or the markets though. High unemployment, falling wages and unprecedented poverty, combined with an uncertain future for Europe and the potential for a worldwide economic slump are all heavy concerns. They all suggest that while stock markets remain buoyant, they could dip at any time and drag the president’s popularity levels down with them. Russell & Co. financial planner Curvin Miller points out, “The one thing that is guaranteed in life is the the markets will go up and the markets will go down. A lot of people feel like they’ve won the game, but they always feel like they’ve won the game before a crisis hits.”
Indeed the link between approvals ratings and share prices was made manifest in August 2011 as the Dow fell by a single-day record of 500 points when the economies of Italy and Spain began to falter. Sure enough president Obama’s ratings dived. Similarly, Bill Clinton was able to defeat George H.W. Bush when the economy fell into recession and then gained re-election in the wake of the ‘dot com’ bubble sending share prices soaring.
Obama may well benefit from these figures, but the reality is that a president’s actions generally have little to do with market performance. Current favourable prices are seen largely to be a result of the Federal Reserve’s restriction of interest rates. Miller confirms, “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter who’s president because the markets are driven by other things.”
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