Two weeks ago, this column pointed to strikingly good economic numbers of late and growing consumer-confidence ratings, a situation that both historically and logically could be expected to provide a boost to any president’s faltering job-approval ratings and reelection prospects.

The column noted that the economy was neither growing so fast as to suggest it was overheating—something that might well trigger more inflation—nor was it growing so slowly that unemployment would rise, and with it the chances of a recession. One recent economic report was described by some as having “Goldilocks” numbers: Not too hot but not too cold, it was just right. Such increasingly positive economic numbers had triggered an improvement in consumer-confidence levels in December and a very significant jump again in numbers for the first half of January.

Historically, after periods of economic hardship, a strengthening economy and rising consumer-confidence numbers invariably led to higher presidential job-approval ratings, with those numbers being the single best indicator of a president’s reelection prospects. Democrats obviously had in mind the experience of former President Obama’s first term, specifically of 2011,

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