With Osama bump fading, Obama faced with reality of bad economy
Osama bin Laden is dead and President Obama has received a bump in the polls for the successful operation that took him out. That’s both deserved and expected. But what’s unknown is how long that bump will last or whether or not the bump is really that important.
I’d say it won’t last long and that while it isn’t unimportant, it isn’t enough to carry him through 2012 and the election. The most important issue Obama will have to overcome for re-election is the economy. And right now, the economy sucks. As a result, so do his poll numbers on the issue:
Just a third of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction; less than four in 10 approve of Obama’s handling of the U.S. economy; and nearly 70 percent think the economy will get worse or stay the same in the next year.
As we all know, the economy is a complex issue and opinions of how good it is often come down to how an individual is faring or how his friends and acquaintances are. It comes down to basic pocket-book issues such as costs, wages, jobs. If the unemployment rate still hovers around 9%, given the promise that they’d keep it under 8% with the stimulus, then the administration is going to have some hard questions to answer.
It’s still very early to make predictions about the presidential race, especially with the dearth of worthwhile candidates on the GOP side, but history has not been kind to incumbent presidents in office when there has been an economic downturn of any magnitude and length. This particular one is one of the worst, and the “I inherited it” mantra has no traction anymore.
But as a baseline from which to compare where the numbers go in the future, the poll is useful:
Looking ahead to next year’s presidential election, 45 percent said they would probably vote for Obama (a two-point rise from April), versus 30 percent who would probably vote for the eventual Republican nominee (an eight-point decrease).
The GOP’s decrease is well-deserved given the emerging field. It’s a signal guys – heed it. As for Obama, the most he can muster, post Osama, is a 45% plurality, which would tell anyone he’s vulnerable. But the GOP numbers say he’s only going to be vulnerable to a worthwhile candidate and so far voters aren’t seeing one.
The obvious issue for next year – well, are you better off today than you were four years ago?
Only 37 percent approve of the president’s handling of the economy, while 58 percent disapprove.
Also, just 31 percent believe the economy will improve in the next 12 months, compared with 43 percent who think it will stay the same and another 25 percent who say it will get worse.
These economic numbers, GOP pollster McInturff says, underscore the “tremendous anchor the economy is to the president’s job standing.”
It’s not an “anchor” its an albatross. While good marks on foreign policy, even if temporary, help Obama, the economy is the key. And the GOP has all the ammunition in the world to keep that albatross around Obama’s neck. But bottom line, or so it appears, no viable candidate, no presidency and so far the voters don’t at all seem impressed with the same old names that are joining the battle on the Republican side.
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