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Obama’s eroding base

A new CNN poll shows that one in four Democrats would prefer the party nominate someone other than Barack Obama for the presidency.   That’s not good territory for an incumbent seeking election to be in.   It also shows a negative trend to the question posed:

A new poll by CNN and ORC International finds that 27 percent of Democrats would like to see their party nominate a candidate other than Barack Obama for president in 2012.

In response to the question, "Do you think the Democratic party should renominate Barack Obama as the party’s candidate for president in 2012, or do you think the Democratic party should nominate a different candidate for president in 2012?" — 72 percent said they wanted to see Obama renominated.  But 27 percent, slightly more than one in every four, said they wanted to see Democrats nominate a different candidate.  One percent had no opinion.

That’s down from July where slightly less (22%) but still a significant number want another nominee.

Don’t forget now, this is a poll of nothing but Democrats.  And this demonstrates a high level of discontent and disapproval with this president among his own base.  It means, for whatever reason, the bloom is off the rose when it comes to Obama, and while it is probable that if Obama remains the nominee for a second term, a good number of them will reluctantly pull the lever for him, given the alternative.  But, and in cases like this there is always a “but” that keeps campaigns awake at night, what this also demonstrates is a large and widening “enthusiasm gap”.

The new poll is another indication of Democratic unhappiness with the president, but it does not mean Obama will face a challenge in his party’s primaries.  Despite the complaints of a few liberals like Sen. Bernard Sanders, the odds of a Democrat opposing the president appear to be something less than zero.  But the new poll is still a matter of concern to Democrats, because it is yet another indication that there is significant disillusionment with the president within his own party.  Whether those disaffected Democrats will come around to supporting Obama next year is an open question — and perhaps the most worrying of the president’s re-election bid.

So you have any number of disaffected Democrats who have little enthusiasm for a repeat of the previous four years.  Obama no longer excites them (if he ever did – my guess is a significant number of these Dems were Hillary supporters) and they’re less likely than previously to take the time to go to the polls and vote.

When it was candidate Obama, the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort by the left was very effective because the Democratic electorate was wildly enthusiastic about the man.  Of course GOTV efforts cost massive amounts of money – something candidate Obama gathered to himself quite well.  As you might imagine, GOTV efforts with a less enthusiastic electorate cost even more.   And still many are going to choose not to participate. 

I think that the story quoted is likely correct.   Both parties have seen what primary challengers do when introduced in a presidential re-election campaign.  The result is rarely good for the incumbent.   I think Democrats will do everything in their power to avoid that.  However, keep in mind these polls.  They reflect a very disturbing trend for the Obama campaign.   He won on the wild enthusiasm he generated with a vague campaign about “hope and change”, an unpopular lame duck president and a poor choice for an opponent.

The “hope and change” express has derailed, he no longer has Bush to blame and he is stuck, for once, running on his own record – as dismal as it is.

Seeing polls indicating an unenthusiastic and eroding base has to keep him up at night.   Trying to restrike the spark that Obama rode to victory has to keep his campaign up at night.  Methinks both are going to suffer many sleepless nights before next November.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO