Free Markets, Free People
Does the economy doom Obama’s re-election hopes?
I’m beginning to wonder if the Republicans can run just about anyone for President (note the qualifier – “just about” – not everyone, even among the declared candidates) and win given this economy and this president:
Americans’ disapproval of how President Barack Obama is handling the economy and its growing budget deficit has reached new highs amid broad frustration over the slow pace of economic recovery, according to a Washington Post-ABC New poll released on Tuesday.
The ratings boost Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden has dissipated with his job approval rating back to 47 percent. Forty-nine percent disapprove of his performance.
Obama’s approval rating bounced to 56 immediately after bin Laden was killed last month.
But it went back to a plurality very quickly. On the key issue, however, it hasn’t returned to a particular percentage – it’s gotten worse. Much worse:
Fifty-nine percent, a new high, gave Obama negative marks for his handling of the economy, up from 55 percent a month earlier.
Obama’s approval rating on the deficit issue hit a new low of 33 percent, down 6 points since April.
Anyone who doesn’t understand that is where the election will be decided hasn’t been paying attention to politics very long. Bill Clinton knew it when he rode to victory on his “It’s the economy, stupid”. Ronald Reagan knew it when he continually asked, “are you better off now than you were 4 years ago”? And Barack Obama would probably kill to have the economic problems Jimmy Carter faced – not that he’d do any better than Carter.
The point is, in bad economic times, incumbents have a tough road ahead of them at election time. That’s because economic issues, joblessness, insecurity and fear are felt and understood by everyone. Pocketbook issues are personal issues. And the public has always voted those issues in general elections – much to the disadvantage of incumbent politicians, especially presidents. There’s a number going around out there which claims that no president since FDR has been re-elected with unemployment over 7.2% . Of course keep in mind only a some of them since then have run for re-election and not all of them had bad unemployment numbers at the time. The point, however, is that this sort of issue is critical to re-election chances.
The survey reflects a broadly pessimistic public mood as high gasoline prices, sliding home values and high unemployment numbers raised concerns about the pace of the U.S. economic recovery, The Washington Post said.
Eighty-nine percent of Americans say the economy is in bad shape; 57 percent say the recovery has not started and 66 percent said the United States was seriously on the wrong track.
Forty-five percent said they trust congressional Republicans over Obama to handle the economy, up 11 points since March.
If much of what is listed in the first paragraph isn’t improving fairly dramatically when 2012 arrives, Obama is in for a long year and, just guessing here, an “upset” loss. The shine has worn off. The cache of electing a black president has run its course. History has been made. And now the results part of the show come to bear. Having been a moment in history won’t save Obama if the economy still sucks as badly as it does now.
My dad used to always tell us boys, “you live between your ears”, meaning attitude was critical to how you approached life and overcame obstacles. Attitude is also critical in economies. Pessimism isn’t the predominant mood one wants within the citizenry when they’re hoping to see it turn around. And it certainly isn’t the mood a president wants through out the lane when he’s running for re-election.
Yeah, this is going to be an interesting year and a half until election day 2012. I’m betting it’s not better economically and, again depending on who the GOP eventually nominates, Republicans stand to win the election. Or, and you heard it here first with all the caveats – it is most likely the Republican’s election to lose.
Of course, knowing them, I have little doubt they can manage to do that.