Quick Thoughts on Timing.

In a new survey, most Americans say they are worse off under Obama:

More than 50 percent of Americans say they are worse off now than they were two years ago when President Barack Obama took office, and two-thirds believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.

The survey, conducted Dec. 4-7, finds that 51 percent of respondents think their situation has deteriorated, compared with 35 percent who say they're doing better. The balance isn't sure. Americans have grown more downbeat about the country's future in just the last couple of months, the poll shows. The pessimism cuts across political parties and age groups, and is common to both sexes.

In a lot of ways, as far as his political fortunes are concerned, Obama is the victim of timing. Franklin Roosevelt had the advantage of entering office after the economy had bottomed out, creating the perception that he was solely responsible for rising fortunes. Had the economy collapsed in October 2008 instead of June 2009, Americans might have been a little more willing to credit Obama with saving the economy, even if it had no where to go but up. In other words, it's very much a stroke of poor luck that the economy crumbled and unemployment soared after Obama was inaugurated, when he was the only one voters could blame.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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