[Posted by Karl]
ABC News Political Director Amy Walter wants to know. After noting that Obama’s overall job approval ratings in various polls are seven to nine percent higher than his approval numbers on the economy, Walter observes:
Obama’s job approval ratings defy political gravity. The only question now, is if they can do so for much longer.
Psychologists talk about “cognitive dissonance,” the tension that people feel when their thoughts are inconsistent with one another. In this case, it’s feeling as if the president is doing a pretty lousy job on the economy, but still giving him decent (though not glowing) marks when it comes to his overall presidency.
At some point, psychologists will tell you, relief from the tension comes only when you try to restore consistency.
In this case, it means that either voters need to start feeling better about Obama’s handling of the economy or they will start to feel worse about his overall ability to handle of his job.
Walter gives Pres. George H.W. Bush as an example of a weak economy eventually drawing inflated, post-Gulf War I ratings back to Earth. She also cites Ronald Reagan’s 1984 showing as an example of the same phenomenon in reverse.