Yesterday the White House budget office downgraded its expectations for the U.S. economy for the rest of the year and for years to come. The Office of Management and Budget slashed GDP growth from 2.7% from 1.7% for 2011 and left job expectations unchanged from July's 9.1% unemployment rate.
The Obama administration's lowered expectations were right in line with the August jobs report, which came in far worse than expected Friday morning. Employers added no net jobs last month, far from the consensus forecast of 100,000, and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1%.
This is grim news for President Obama -- especially in terms of his re-election campaign. Not only did Obama's job approval rating fall last month, his disapproval rating has hit an all-time low, according to a new Quinnipiac University National Poll.
Ahead of Thursday's speech before a Joint Session of Congress, just 42% of voters approve of the job he is doing while 52% disapprove of the way he is running the country. In past polls, his approval rating has fallen below 42%, but this is the first time his disapproval rating has hit more than half. (See: Battle Over Obama's Speech Latest In "Pile of Very Discouraging Incidents": Politico's Burns )
Obama's grade over his handling of the economy does not get high markets either. Nearly two-third of voters (65%) disapprove with how he has handled the flailing U.S. economy, while only one-third of voters (34%) approve of his economic prowess, according to a recent CNN/ORC International Poll.
But what is even more telling is how he stacks up against his GOP contenders on campaign issue #1 as we head into the fall campaign season.
Texas Governor Perry may be leading in the GOP primary polls, however he does trail former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney over his ability to handle the U.S. economy. Romney even has a leg up over the president on that one by 4%. And Obama's lead over Perry is only 2% when it comes to the issue of economic issues.
The route for Romney to the White House is to be the most credible candidate for handing the economy, says Alex Burns, national political reporter for POLITICO. And so far he is right on track to do that.
But it is still early and Perry just entered the race a few weeks ago. Time will tell whether the Texas Governor can make the case that he is the economist in Chief.
Tell us what you think! Who is best suited to handle turning the U.S. economy around? A) President Obama B) Mitt Romney or C) Rick Perry