Thursday, April 22, 2010

There's a turkey being slaughtered behind Daniel Henninger's column

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this chart accompanying Daniel Henninger's reading of Pew's trust in government poll belies his conclusion that the grim numbers bespeak a wholesale rejection of the stimulus and health care reform bills.

Looks to me like this plunge, which lasted through three quarters of Bush's term, is seeking a bottom, sort of like that which was reached one quarter of the way into Clinton's term. Henninger crows that Obama's numbers have continued to trend downward in the wake of HCR and the treaty signature with Russia. All in good time, my dear, all in good're thinking in weeks rather than years.

Obama looks to me on course to lead a long climb in this headline number akin to that which transpired under Clinton.  Of course, whether the turn may come before or after the November elections is the political question of the hour.

UPDATE: after posting, I take a little reading break, and wouldn't you know, Jonathan Chait made the same point three hours ago -- and natch did a better job, adding a chart correlating 'trust in gov" with unemployment levels (perfect mirror images) showing trust ratings over a more extended time frame and (per Anon's comment; I can't see this) adding shading to signify recessions. 


  1. I don't think those were unemployment levels, but "distrust of government" from the same poll -- so naturally a mirror image. The interesting thing Chait did was to shade in recession bands.

    I think this follows up on some recent research showing that Republican governments tend to run the economy into the ground (e.g. Reagan, Bush). At which point, trust in government sours and the electorate puts a Democrat into power. Hence, Republicans enjoy good "trust in government" numbers at the beginning of their periods in power but bad "trust in government" numbers at the end; Democrats vice versa.

  2. Oops - Thanks, Anon, and damn my eyes and my rush. I still can't read that Chait chart. Guess I extrapolated from his comments and past posts correlating unemployment and approval/trust ratings. Corrected above.