42% of Americans say their personal economic situation has worsened over the last year, compared to just 11% who think it's gotten better. And a look inside those numbers gives a good indication as to why Republicans are primed for such a good election year.
The GOP leads 57-27 on the generic Congressional ballot with people who say the economy has hurt them more at the personal level since Obama took office. Among those whose situations have stayed the same or improved Democrats lead 49-33.
It's not going to do Democrats any good for economists to say that things are back on the right track. Voters make decisions emotionally rather than intellectually, and that 11/42 gap on whether people's personal situations are improving is going to have to close before Democrats start looking better for this fall.
Overall just 11% of voters rate the current state of the economy as excellent or good with 34% calling it fair and 53% majority labeling it poor.
There's an interesting contrast in who voters hold responsible for the current state of the economy. By a 47/42 margin they say it falls on George W. Bush rather than Barack Obama. But asked specifically which party they feel is more culpable they pick the Democrats by a 46/39 margin. That dichotomy shows that Obama's personal brand is still better than that of his party- and it helps to explain why his campaign appearances for Democratic candidates haven't done much to push them over the top.
There is endless discussion about what the Democrats need to do to get back on track but ultimately their fate may lie in something they don't have that much direct control over- whether individual households stop feeling the pain from this recession.
Full results here