March 4, 2012 by David K. Sutton
An Obama Win In November? We Have A Long Way To Go
David Paul Kuhn writes on RealClearPolitics, “Obama is not a strong incumbent by historic measure.” Kuhn compares Obama’s approval (45%) to that of Jimmy Carter at this same point in 1980 (55%). Considering Carter’s fate in the election that year, Obama’s current approval rating is cause for concern.
But it’s not just job approval rating, there are several factors that make an Obama victory in November far from a lock. Kuhn talks about gas prices, which he says have more impact on the way people vote than where the stock market is heading. Kuhn also points out an election forecast on ‘third-year GDP growth’ that paints a gloomy picture:
Political scientist James Campbell, an expert on election forecasting, calculates that the weakest third-year economic growth (change in GDP adjusted for inflation) since 1952 for winning incumbents has been 2.5 percent (Clinton in 1996 and Bush in 2004). The economy grew 1.7 percent in Obama’s third year.
As Campbell put it: “Despite their protracted and bitter nomination contest in the Republican Party, the overall outlook on the 2012 election at this time indicates a very tight election with only a slight edge to President Obama.”
Kuhn also talks about Obama’s 2008 coalition, which is something that I’ve been concerned about for a while. Whether you voted for Obama or not, I think most people recognize the historic significance of that election – the possibility that we could elect the first black President. Since that election I’ve wondered, how many people who turned out for that historic election don’t normally vote and are not engaged politically? How many have completely ignored politics and government in the years since electing Barack Obama president? Is it possible to reach all of 2008 Obama supporters and get them to vote for Obama again in 2012?
We cannot yet know how much of Obama’s 2008 coalition will return to him in this race. [In the 2010 midterm election] Obama suffered historic losses among whites and independents. He’s gained some ground since. It’s still a long way back.
Another aspect to the President’s loss of support is the alienation of many liberals, who have not been happy with his insistence to compromise with an increasingly radical right-wing Republican Party. How many of these liberals will sit out the next election in protest? I count myself as one of those liberals, but I will not be sitting out the election. Obama might not be the perfect candidate for liberals, but by not voting for Obama, it would essentially be endorsing the Republican candidate.