One interesting finding in the latest NYT poll is that the public seems to have incredibly low expectations for the efficacy of Barack Obama’s economic policies. If the recession really continues until the end of Obama’s first term, that would be a shockingly long downturn of almost five years in total duration. Even the Great Depression saw an initial turnaround sooner than that (before, admittedly, falling into a new recession in 1937).
A finding like that could be paired with a generally dour judgment about Obama with people thinking he’s screwing up. But instead the poll shows Obama’s approval ratings to be very high.
In part, the public’s take on all this is probably colored by a not-particular-precise public conception of what it means for the economy to be in recession. But either way I do think it suggests that Obama can take advantage of a period of low expectations for his actual performance. And that might be all for the best, since I’m frankly not that optimistic that the banking strategy they’re pursuing is going to bring about good results.