A Rhetorical Stimulus Package

This is really interesting news from Gallup:

The U.S. Gallup Economic Confidence Index surged to -18 for the week ending Sept. 9, up 11 points from -29 the prior week. This puts the index near the high point for the year after 2 ½ months when, weighed down by continued high unemployment, the index had languished well below -20….

The U.S. Gallup Economic Confidence Index surged to -18 for the week ending Sept. 9, up 11 points from -29 the prior week. This puts the index near the high point for the year after 2 ½ months when, weighed down by continued high unemployment, the index had languished well below -20.

At -18, the index is also on par with the highest levels seen since the start of Gallup Daily tracking in January 2008, although this has proved a difficult barrier for the index to break. The index has reached -16 or -17 just a handful of times in weekly averages, only to quickly recede.

Last week’s 11-point jump is also the biggest one-week improvement in the Gallup Economic Confidence Index since its inception, although it roughly matches the 10-point gain that occurred the week after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

Wow. Gallup makes it clear the reason for this improvement in economic confidence is very simply the Democratic Convention:

It appears that the spark for the dramatic rise in Americans’ economic confidence last week was the Democratic National Convention. A review of Gallup’s nightly tracking results shows that the index was consistently near or below -25 each night in late August and early September, but then sharply improved on Sept. 4, the first night of the convention, to -18.

Confidence then held at or near -18 through Sunday, despite the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ mixed August unemployment report Friday morning showing continued weak jobs growth.

And even more interestingly, this big boost was entirely generated by Democrats and independents:

More specifically, the convention appears to have given Democrats and, to a lesser degree, independents, fresh optimism about the economy. Democrats’ confidence for the week spanning the convention averaged +24, up 17 points from +7 the prior week. Confidence was up 13 points among independents, but was virtually unchanged among Republicans.

Considering how many voters didn’t watch the convention at all, those who did were clearly pretty revved up.

But here’s the thing: this isn’t just some poll; this is a widely-discussed economic indicator followed by investors. Rising economic confidence, if sustained, can actually become to some extent a self-fulfilling prophecy!

So finally, Team Obama has figured out a way to provide a little pre-election stimulus: three days of speeches. Go figure.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.