According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 82 percent of participants believe their economic situation has gotten worse or stayed the same over the last year. And in a recent ABC/Washington Post poll, fewer than 50 percent of those questioned believe the president relates to the problems of everyday Americans.
With climbing gas prices and a recent rise in unemployment numbers, Republicans have suggested president Obama is out of touch with real Americans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Wednesday said the American people are getting "a daily dose of bad news [and] little comfort from an administration that seems more interested in deflecting the bad news than facing up to it."
White House press secretary Jay Carney disputed that claim Thursday saying president Obama "takes enormously seriously the hardship that Americans continue to endure as we emerge from the worst recession most of us have ever seen in our lifetime."
The administration has defended the recent dismal job numbers, saying the long term trend is growing with a million jobs created in the last six months and more than 2.1 million private sector jobs in the last fifteen.
Carney dismissed the ABC/Washington Post poll saying the president is focused on job creation day in and day out. "He spent so much of his time devoted to discussing the economy with his advisors, talking to outside folks about their ideas, including his Jobs and Competitiveness Council; CEOs and other leaders in the economy for their ideas about what we need to do to continue to grow the economy and create jobs."
In the NBC/Wall Street Journal survey 45% of those asked believe the economic stimulus legislation passed in 2009 will not help improve the economy. Carney says that stimulus was necessary and is yielding results. "We believe that the actions that we took in early 2009 - some of them controversial, some of them very difficult - have been responsible, or have certainly helped produce that change in direction," he said Thursday at the White House adding, "a change in direction does not mean an arrival at a destination."
The president has said many times there is more work to do, solving the federal deficit being the next important step to prevent the economy from slipping back. Carney says there is opportunity to fix the budget and grow the economy. "As we get our deficits under control, as we address our long-term debt, but that we do these things, these important things, in ways that further our potential for economic growth, increase our potential to create jobs, and do not in any way reverse the progress that we've made."