Just 9 percent of those surveyed rated the economy as good or excellent, the first time that number has been in single digits since the days just before the 1992 election. Just 14 percent said the country is heading in the right direction, equaling the record low on that question in polls dating back to 1973.
More voters trust Obama to deal with the economy, and he currently has a big edge as the candidate who is more in tune with the economic problems Americans now face. He also has a double-digit advantage on handling the current problems on Wall Street, and as a result, there has been a rise in his overall support. The poll found that, among likely voters, Obama now leads McCain by 52 percent to 43 percent. Two weeks ago, in the days immediately following the Republican National Convention, the race was essentially even, with McCain at 49 percent and Obama at 47 percent.
As a point of comparison, neither of the last two Democratic nominees -- John F. Kerry in 2004 or Al Gore in 2000 -- recorded support above 50 percent in a pre-election poll by the Post and ABC News.
As we all know, national polls are nearly useless for understanding the true state of the race. But the impact of issues like this, measured on a national level, certainly predicts an impact at the state level, and the numbers are looking good for Obama there as well. Nonetheless, it appears that Obama is backing away somewhat from the 50-state strategy, moving to abandon states where his staffers can hope to only make a minimal impact to focus on key battleground states instead.
UPDATE: Things are also looking good in national polls for Democrats running for Congress.