For Democrats, it’s a shame voter perceptions of the economy are apparently formed months in advance of elections, barring huge events. The final big official “signal” of how the economy is doing is reasonably positive and better than expected: GDP rose at an estimated 3.5% in the third quarter, following a 4.6% jump in the second quarter.

As WaPo’s Matt O’Brien points out, the current growth level is “mediocre” once you take out the noise and look at it over time. But at a time when Americans are rating the economy (at least in WaPo’s own polling) as no better than it was four years ago, any kind of sustained growth should be good and surprising news.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.