BOSTON (CBS) – Most of us are perfectly capable of making up our own minds about what we see in a political debate. But over the years researchers have found that a significant number of voters form their post-debate opinions from what they read, see and hear others saying about it after the fact.
So I spent some time wading through the post-debate spin, fortunately with heavy boots on. And while I saw some real nonsense coming from both sides, one remark stood out.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said “I saw Hillary Clinton give a polished, well-rehearsed defense of the status quo, which seven out of ten Americans don’t like.”
The speaker didn’t specify, but I assume he’s referring to the common poll question: Is the country going in the right direction or on the wrong track?
Wrong track is a perennial winner. But gauging actual public optimism is more complicated than that.
The new WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio, UMass Amherst Poll shows that here in Massachusetts, more than six-in-ten of us believe the country is on the wrong track.
But it’s a virtual tie when asked the same question about Massachusetts. Could it be that the right direction/wrong track number is like the way we view Congress – we hate ’em all, except our own congressman, who we almost always re-elect?
President Obama’s approval rating has been in positive territory for months now, and many economic indicators have been on the rise. Gas is cheap. For most Americans, life isn’t quite as bad as some claim it is.
That’s the gamble Donald Trump is making, that there’s enough discontent to sweep him into office. In 42 days, we’ll see if his bet pays off.