Free Markets, Free People
The following US economic statistics were announced today:
The final manufacturing PMI from Markit Economics is 51.5, almost unchanged from July’s 51.4.
The ISM manufacturing index remains at contractionary levels, falling 0.2 points to 49.6. New orders are contracting for the third straight month, and are at the worst level since April, 2009, at 47.1. The lack of new orders means the production index fell a very steep 4.1 points 47.1, the first reading under 50 since May 2009. There’s really nothing positive in this report.
Construction spending fell unexpectedly in July, falling -0.9% from June. On a year-over-year basis, spending rose 9.3%.
Motor vehicles sales will be reported throughout the day today. The consensus estimate is for 11.1-11.4 million units sold domestically, with 14.0-14.7 units sold worldwide.
UPDATE: The auto industry posted the best August sales in 5 years, with domestic vehicle sales at an annual 11.6 million annual rate, and total vehicle sales at 14.5 million. Sales were up over 20% from a year ago.Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, showed a sales increase of 46%, and Honda’s sales rose 59.5% as the company’s recover from the earthquake and tsunami last year. All three domestic auto makers posted greater sales gains than analysts had expected.
A majority of voters believe the country is worse off today than it was four years ago and that President Obama does not deserve reelection, according to a new poll for The Hill.
Fifty-two percent of likely voters say the nation is in “worse condition” now than in September 2008, while 54 percent say Obama does not deserve reelection based solely on his job performance.
Only 31 percent of voters believe the nation is in “better condition,” while 15 percent say it is “about the same,” the poll found. Just 40 percent of voters said Obama deserves reelection.
Key word above? “Likely” voters.
The poll sort of echoes Eastwood’s words about what you do with someone not performing, doesn’t it? And, finally, the president is faced with actually earning something … or not. Apparently it’s “or not”.
Prepare for spin city this week as Democrats meet to try to salvage this presidency and frame the GOP as the equivalent of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and Pol Pot’s Cambodia all rolled into one. And don’t be surprised if Idi Amin gets a mention as well.
But they’ll be civil about it.
Sure they will.
Oh, and before I forget … one other indicator. Reports have it that the Romney campaign raised $100 million in August. That ought to help set the right tone for the DNC.
So the question of the week is can the DNC via Obama reignite the “magic” of 2008 in dispirited voters?
Charlie Cook, the dean of Democratic strategists, takes a look at three demographic groups critical to Obama’s 7 point margin of victory in in 2008. While he finds one of the groups, African-Americans, still with Obama in numbers similar to 2008, two other groups are not at all showing the same enthusiasm they had then. They are voters 18-29 and Latinos. Obama leads comfortably in both demographics. However, the question is, will they vote in the numbers necessary to push Obama over the edge.
Cook says it doesn’t appear so.
In each case, the percentage who say they will definitely vote is significantly lower than it is among other demographic groups who view Obama less charitably.
Groups among those who see Obama “less charitably”, as Cook puts it, includes seniors (65 and older):
Voters ages 65 and older favor Romney by a 15-point margin, 54 percent to 39 percent, and 86 percent of those in that oldest cohort say they definitely plan to vote, compared with just 61 percent of those ages 18-29. Romney has a statistically insignificant 1-point edge (46 percent to 45 percent) among those 30 to 49 years of age, but 80 percent of them say they will definitely vote. Among the 50-to-64 age group, Romney leads by 3 points, 48 percent to 45 percent, with 86 percent of that cohort saying they will definitely vote.
Cook believes it is a matter of enthusiasm, or lack thereof:
But the study also found “consistent evidence that President Obama’s 2008 first-time voters are less supportive than other Obama voters, reflecting a decline in enthusiasm among a key voting bloc in the 2012 elections.”
Note, both polls are those of “registered voters”, however, the point is clear – enthusiasm for Obama isn’t at all near the fever pitch it was in 2008 and experts like Cook know that. As he says, there’s “consistent” evidence Obama’s support among those groups has eroded when it comes to enthusiasm. Cook also knows what has to happen for Obama to again grab the edge and win. How critical is the Democratic convention to that?
Very. It is there the spark needs to be lit again, where a message that resonates and energizes the same demographic groups that put him over the line last time.
Will it happen? Well that’s the “big question”.
And behind all these problems isn’t the “war on women”, “race” or “inequality”. It’s the economy. If, in fact, the Democrats concentrate on the diversion of the first three, the likelihood of them reenergizing their voters isn’t high. It may, however, even further energize the other side.
So you may see them tip-toe around mentions of the economy and attempt to push it off on Bush again. They’re already trying out “the Bush recession”, “the Bush economy”, etc. That’s unlikely to impress many (most polls have indicated that voters think, after 3 years, Obama owns the economy now), but it’s about all they have in that arena.
Of the two conventions, the DNC is likely to be the more interesting of the two by a long shot.