A recent study (reported on in Reuters
) says that, in the 3rd quarter of this year, the U.S. GDP grew 7.2%, the fastest rate since 1984.
If, to paraphrase the Clintonian cliche, it is about the economy, stupid, the Democrats could be in big trouble. The Bush Administration has excelled at two things: hiding long-term drawbacks to its policies while highlighting the comparatively negligible short-term benefits. You had better believe that the Bush Administration will declare this as a great victory in the "war on the economy".
Personally, I find these numbers to be rather disturbing. What we have here is a surge in economic output at a time when many have lost, and are still without, jobs. That means that fewer people are now contributing an even greater amount to America's economic growth in such a way that the GDP surged at a rate faster than when more people had jobs. More or less, this indicates that many are likely being left behind in the wake of a boomlet. Furthermore, if, as the study indicates, the GDP growth was caused by the Bush tax cut, then this growth will be little more than a flash in the pan.
How the Democrats will be able to combat this study I don't know. Bush has done a good job of convincing the public that deficits don't matter, and that short-term gains like this one mean prosperity forever. Economists are mostly in agreement that the deficits run up by Bush and the costs of rebuilding Iraq are going to come back to haunt us, but Americans are notorious for looking only at the present, if things are good, and taking it to heart that those things will always be as good, or better, than they are.
Aside from a sudden awakening of the American public to the dangers of small, short-term gains at risk of large, long-term losses, or the economy going noticibly south, again, the Democrats are now in for a challenge on the economic front.