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Whose economy is it anyway?

1. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that a majority of voters believe that President Barack Obama inherited the current problems with the economy although other data in the poll suggests potential trouble brewing on the issue for the White House.

Fifty six percent of those polled said the economic situation was one Obama had stepped into when he became president last January while 32 percent said the policies he had put in place were primarily responsible for the fiscal state of the country.

Those numbers buoy the Democratic argument -- being made most forcefully by the President himself -- that what his Administration has done over the past 21 months in regards the economy was born of necessity given what George W. Bush left him when he took over.

While Obama's argument remains the one a majority of Americans believe, the trend line on the question is not encouraging for the White House. Back in January, just 17 percent said Obama's policies were to blame for the state of the economy. That those numbers have nearly doubled in eight months suggests that at some time in the not-too-distant future -- and almost certainly before his 2012 re-election -- this will become Obama's economy in the eyes of a majority of voters.

And, a series of numbers within the poll suggest Obama has much work to do if he wants to run and win on what he has done with the economy in office.

Just 42 percent approve of how he has handled the economy while 54 percent disapprove; those numbers lag behind his overall ratings -- 46 percent approve, 49 percent disapprove.

Seven in ten voters believe that the country is still in a recession despite a report from the National Bureau of Economic Research that suggests that the recession formally ended in June 2009.

And, there is still significant division about whether the economy is getting better or not. Thirty-two percent say it will be better in a year while 24 percent say it will be worse; forty one percent said the state of the economy will be about the same in a year's time.

That combination of numbers suggest that even though Obama is not currently being blamed for the economy, he is also not being given rave reviews -- or anything close to it -- for his own work on the financial state of the country.

In other words: Obama still has some time to show and prove to the American public that his economic policies are making things better not worse. But, given the growth of those willing to blame him for the current economic conditions Obama needs to start showing results -- and soon.

2. Former President Bill Clinton will take a swing out west next month when he visits Washington State to give a boost to Sen. Patty Murray (D) in her bid against former state Sen. Dino Rossi (R).

Clinton will headline a get-out-the-vote rally for Murray on Oct. 18 in Everett, which sits about an hour north of Seattle and is home to one of Boeing's largest assembly plants. (Rossi campaigned in the city last Sunday to rally supporters at his local campaign office.)

The visit will come ten days after Vice President Joe Biden is slated to hit the stump for Murray. President Barack Obama visited the state on Murray's behalf in August, on the same day that Washingtonians voted on Murray and Rossi as their parties' nominees.

Recent polls have shown that the race appears to be breaking in Murray's favor, although a Fox News poll released Tuesday showed Murray taking 48 percent to Rossi's 47 percent among likely voters.

News of Clinton's visit comes as a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows the former president's favorability ratings climbing to their highest point since he left office in 2001.

Fifty-five percent of adults viewed Clinton favorably in the poll, while 23 percent viewed him unfavorably. That's higher than the favorability ratings of Obama (47 percent), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (22 percent), House Minority Leader John Boehner (14 percent) and a host of potential White House 2012 contenders.

3. Businessman John Raese (R) is up with a hard-hitting new ad in the suddenly red-hot West Virginia Senate race, going after Gov. Joe Manchin (D) for his position on coal and tying him to President Obama.

The Raese ad highlights a bill signed by Manchin last year, which would force electric companies to cut coal usage by 25 percent over the next 15 years. It calls that proposal "Obama's cap and trade bill, West Virginia style" -- linking it to the energy bill that passed in the House of Representatives last year and was unpopular in coal-producing regions.

"Joe Manchin has thrown us under the bus, so imagine the damage he'll do in Washington with his friend, Barack Obama," Raese says in the ad.

(The National Republican Senatorial Committee also released a new radio ad in the race on Tuesday. The ad, like Raese's, attempts to tie Manchin to Washington, D.C. politicians.)

Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is now also on the air with its first ad in the race.

The DSCC ad tries to paint Raese as a big-time businessman unconcerned about workers. It notes that he opposes the minimum wage, failed to pay worker's compensation and signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, which the ad notes would preserve tax cuts for companies who outsource jobs.

4. A round of new polls conducted for Fox News shows good news for Republican candidates in several key Senate and gubernatorial races.

The polls, which were conducted by Pulse Opinion Research and had a margin of error of three percentage points, showed Republican candidates leading in the Wisconsin, Colorado and Ohio Senate races and in a statistical tie in Washington and Illinois.

The Fox data also show Republicans leading in the Wisconsin and Illinois gubernatorial races and tied in Ohio, where Gov. Ted Strickland (D) appears to be on the verge of making a comeback.

The most surprising finding in the polls, however, was in the Colorado gubernatorial race, where Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (D) leads with 44 percent. Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, who is running as the American Constitution Party nominee, has shot into second place taking 34 percent among likely voters. Businessman Dan Maes (R), the GOP nominee, takes only 15 percent in the poll.

Maes has come under increasing fire for controversies regarding his past; his campaign on Tuesday released documents revealing that he was fired from his position as a Kansas police officer in 1985 for tipping off suspects about an investigation into a gambling ring.

Most neutral observers believe that Hickenlooper is a shoo-in in the race, but Maes' collapsing support -- and Tancredo's apparent surge -- make the race worth keeping an eye on.

5. Today marks the premiere of the "Fast Fix" -- a joint web video venture between the Washington Post and Yahoo News in which yours truly breaks down the political news of the day -- 60 seconds at a time.

There will be a new video every morning so take a minute -- literally -- out of your day to watch it. We promise it will make you smarter.

The videos will live here. You will also be able to check them out at The Fix too.

Have a topic you want us to address on the "Fast Fix"? Email with your suggestions.

With Felicia Sonmez and Aaron Blake

By Chris Cillizza  | September 29, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Afternoon Fix: Republican polls show four Western House races in dead heat; DSCC launches new ads in Delaware and West Virginia
Next: Ron Johnson's outsider ad

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