WASHINGTON -- Do Democrats care about the dismal economy now in its fourth year of Barack Obama's jobless presidency?
Despite mounting evidence the sluggish economy is slowing down further, unemployment is climbing, and the Democrats' core voting blocs are suffering the most under Obama's economic policies, he still holds a slight overall lead over Republican Mitt Romney in the latest Gallup polls.
Even though Obama's approval/disapproval numbers are poor (45 percent/47 percent), Gallup shows him with a 46 percent to 44 percent edge over the former governor. And recent polling in three critical battleground states -- Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio -- gives Obama relatively healthy leads in each of them.
Gallup surveys show Obama has maintained strong support among the Democrats' most loyal constituencies, African-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, and in the party overall.
Nearly one-third of pledged Obama voters say the chief reason they are voting for him is because he has done a good job overall. Another 10 percent, believe it or not, say they will vote for him because of the economy and his economic recovery plan.
Another 40 percent say they will support him because of what he has done for job creation and employment, for "the working/middle class," because they generally agree with his views, or just because they always vote Democratic.
Much of the Democratic Party is made up of working class, low- to middle-income Americans and, of course, minorities. And these groups have arguably suffered most from Obama's policies, which have resulted in mediocre job creation, falling incomes and the weakest recovery since the Great Depression.
The overall jobless rate among African-Americans, who overwhelmingly support Obama's re-election, was nearly 14 percent last month. For black men it was 15 percent, up from 14.6 percent, and for black women it was 12.3 percent, up from 11.7 percent. Unemployment for black teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 was an oppressive 36.5 percent.
The job market for Hispanic men was also bleak and showed little or no signs of improvement: 11.1 percent, up from 9.8 percent in April.
The overall youth job market is a national catastrophe that goes unnoticed in the White House or in President Obama's campaign speeches. Fewer than three in 10 work-eligible teenagers hold jobs. The rest can't find one or are working only part-time.
Job creation has plunged to nearly negligible levels in recent months, from subpar levels in the past three years. A mediocre 69,000 jobs were created last month, when we have had hundreds of thousands of jobs created month by month in previous recoveries.
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