For the first time in over two years, voters say they trust Republicans more than Democrats to manage the economy.
Asked by Rasmussen Reports which party will do a better job of taking care of the economy, 45 percent of voters opted for Republicans, compared to 39 percent for Democrats. Another 16 percent were undecided.
The survey was based on 1,000 likely voters canvassed on June 3 and 4 -- just after the Obama administration announced GM would go into bankruptcy, giving the federal government a controlling interest in the company.
"I think you're seeing that Obama got his stimulus package, and got his budget, and got it on his timetable -- and it didn't work," journalist and think-tank fellow Peter Roff tells Newsmax. "Unemployment is now 9.4 percent, higher than it's been in 25 years. It's higher than Obama said it would be with or without the stimulus.
"So," Roff says, "they're making an argument which the American people understand is transparently false: That no matter how bad the unemployment numbers are, they would have been worse had we done nothing. Well they're worse than when they sold the stimulus."
Declares Roff: "The bloom for Obama is off the rose, as far as the policy agenda is concerned. His first major initiative has apparently failed -- that's the stimulus. And now every time we turn around, he's talking about raising the taxes on somebody."
The administration has conceded the $787 billion stimulus package is falling short of the job-creation projections used to sell the initiative to Congress. In response to grim unemployment numbers, Vice President Joseph Biden has said the administration will "ramp up" the stimulus program over the summer months. Only about 5 to 6 percent of stimulus funds had been spent as of May 29.
Obama promised Monday to accelerate stimulus spending to "save or create" 600,000 jobs by summer's end. But economists say it will be virtually impossible to measure how many jobs are "saved" in the economy, because no one reports jobs that aren't lost.
What economists are able to track with precision is unemployment. The unemployment rate was 7.6 percent when Obama took office. Since the stimulus plan was enacted in February, the economy has shed an estimated 1.6 million jobs. May unemployment reached 9.4 percent.
With the 2010 midterm elections approaching, Democrats' greatest concern may be their standing with independent voters. By a 2-to-1 margin, they say the GOP is more trustworthy when it comes to managing the economy.
"The economic chickens are coming home to roost, and the news isn’t good for the Democratic Party, especially among independent voters," Michael Franc, the vice president for government affairs of the Heritage Foundation, tells Newsmax.
The economy remains the single most important issue to voters, according to Rasmussen.
Republicans also lead Democrats on the second-most important issue, ethical governance, by a 35 to 29 percent margin. That's a major shift since last month, when Democrats held an 11 percent advantage.
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