Economic numbers good, but politicians hedge bets
"In order for us to make real progress, the president must do more than criticize," Boehner said.
With the economy still emerging as the top issue of the day with a plurality of voters, each side will continue to brand the other as uncompressing obstructionists. And even if the economic trends show improvement, the fall campaign season may be coming too quickly to change the battleground.
"It takes a long time for economic statistics to be felt in people's pocketbooks," Ayres said. "It may be too late at this point to affect the political environment of the midterm elections.
What's more, neither side has an incentive to tout much progress.
"For Republicans, the reality is that they are not going to want to give credit for anything that Obama should be credited for," said Ken Warren, a political scientist and pollster at St. Louis University. "As for Democrats, when the public feels some way in the polls and it's not going to play well, even the Democrats in this case would see a down side.
"To contradict what the people think can be perceived as liability."