Good News! The Economy Has Soared Over the Past Week.

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So how’s the economy doing? Getting better, getting worse, or what? Gallup asked people this question twice in November and it turns out that Republicans have had a huge change of heart over the past week. The number who think the economy is on the mend has skyrocketed from 16 percent to 49 percent.

The point of this is not to make fun of Republicans.1 Democrats responded the same way, though not by nearly as much. The point is that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to poll questions like this. I’d put the beloved “right-track-wrong-track” question in this category too. Very often, people view these things as proxies for “what do you think of the current president?” They don’t really have any idea whether the economy is getting better or worse, but they don’t like that Obama guy, so they give a negative answer.

This tendency appears to be more pronounced among conservatives than liberals, but both sides do it. As an objective measure of what people really think about the economy, poll questions like this don’t tell us much.

1OK, maybe a little bit.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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