Saturday, August 6, 2011

HOPE AND CHANGE OR...... WHY OBAMA CAN BE BEAT IN 2012

1. Obamafatigue 1

Many of Barack Obama’s supporters “are exhausted.”  Many defected in the midterms.  Independents, suburban residents, college graduates, working-class voters, and even Hispanic voters shifted right.  Exit poll analysis by National Journal shows “white voters not only strongly preferred Republican House and Senate candidates but also registered deep disappointment with President Obama’s performance.”  Team Obama will focus heavily on minorities, the young, and women, but voter enthusiasm may be tempered by economic exhaustion.  Thirty percent (30%) of voters describe the president’s leadership style as too confrontational , up nine points from 21% in June, 2011 and the highest finding since March 2010 when the health care issue was front and center.

2. Obamafatigue 2

Voters may be turned off by the Obama Overexposure Effect.  A Pew 2008 weekly survey showed, by a margin of 76 percent to 11 percent, respondents named Obama over Sen. John McCain as the candidate they heard about the most. Close to half said they heard too much about Obama.  And by a slight but statistically significant margin, they then had a less favorable view of him.  After 3 years in office, Obama still uses the teleprompter.  One would think he would have a grip on things by now and be able to discuss them extemporaneously.

3. The Monstrous Debt – It’s the Economy, Stupid!

The national debt reached $10 trillion under President Bush, but deficit spending is at an all-time high under President Obama, with $1.4 trillion added in 2009 and $1.3 trillion in 2010, and another 2.4 trillion to be added before the 2012 elections.  The deficit has now reached 100% of GDP.  The good news for Obama is that most people are too uninformed to understand what this means.  However, the biggest club to use against Obama may be the downgrading by S&P of the nation’s AAA rating – THE FIRST DOWNGRADE IN HISTORY!  (Not something you want after your name in the history books.  But – only time will tell if the MSM gives ownership of this to Obama…. )  Bankruptcies loom for many states faced with unfunded public pension liabilities; strong-arm demands for bailouts by unions will threaten Democrats’ credibility. The 2010 midterm elections showed that voters want smaller government and lower taxes.  As the GOP educates voters about what the exploding debt burden means for future generations, its cost-cutting measures and messaging will resonate.  It will also not hurt the GOP that states like Ohio, with a regulation-cutting, tax-cutting Republican at the helm are climbing out of their debts.

4. Are You Better Off Today……

In 1980, President Ronald Reagan famously asked: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”  The answer for many is “no,” with higher unemployment, more debt, record-high home foreclosures, and another housing dip on the way. The long road to economic recovery will continue to frustrate voters.  Weekly reminders of rising prices at the gas pump, where it hurts most, may cost Obama the election.  And watch for rapidly increasing food prices caused, in part, by the droughts in the mid-west that are costing farmers crops and livestock.  Meat prices are already on the rise.  In a Rasmussen survey the first week of august, only 14% of those VOTERS surveyed think the country is heading in the right direction, while 51% say they think the nation’s best days are behind us.  That is HUGE!

5. Ailing Health Care

 “Obamacare” was historic legislation, so too was the House vote to repeal it. Though repeal today may be moot as Senate passage and a presidential veto are unlikely, as the true bottom line becomes known, in terms of increased costs, decreased access to care, and increased government controls, health care once again will be a decisive campaign issue.  Efforts to dismantle or defund Obamacare will continue for the next two years.  And as the public listens more to the credible Rep. Paul Ryan, the president will be on the defensive daily.  And the 1200+ waivers that will soon expire are causing large employers to announce that they will stop providing a health care option completely because of Obamacare.

6. Tea Party Momentum

The momentum will not stop.  With a majority voice and a mandate, the freshman class of Tea Party reps are holding the old guard republicans’ feet to the fire to cut spending.   It’s the spending, stupid!  Moderate voters could turn out in droves in 2012, challenging the Democrats’ ground game.  With 33 Senate seats (23 of which are now held by Democrats), 435 House seats, 11 governorships, and perhaps the ultimate fate of Obamacare still on the line, all politics is turnout.

7. Obama’s Transparency Problem

If House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa is effective in questioning mismanagement and opacity in the administration, Team Obama will be forced off-message as the public is reminded daily of the president’s one-time promises of transparency.  A bill introduced on the first day of this session that seeks to cut off funding to 39 “czars” appointed without congressional approval may also find its way to the light of day on Issa’s desk.  And sunshine tends to disinfect.  Also looming in the shadows is ‘Project Gunrunner’…. Which could become Obama’s Watergate.  This one’s a stink that won’t go away.

8. Congressional Districts Reapportioned

With the reapportionment of congressional districts from the 2010 Census, and with Republican control of more governorships and state legislatures, Obama’s electoral road to reelection is not without a few bumps.  Eight states gained at least one congressional district; five of those are traditionally red states, including Texas, which gained four seats.  Six of the 10 states to lose a district are blue. And once reliable Democratic states voted Republican in the 2010 midterms.  

9. The (four) Wars Aren’t Over

President Obama gets credit for continuing George W. Bush’s strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And though the public grows weary, the anti-war movement is now strangely silent.  The number of voters who believe the terrorists are winning is at its highest level in over three years, and voters continue to believe Obama’s ideas on foreign policy don’t quite match their own.  Those concerns, along with growing international threats from Iran, and our increasing economic dependence on China, may push votes into the ‘R’ column.  Not that likely, but it does increase the likelihood that these voters could stay home.

10. What About Overregulation?

By moderating his anti-business rhetoric, selecting William Daley of JP Morgan Chase as his new chief of staff, and naming General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt as the chair of the White House’s new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, Obama is sending signals of the administration’s shift toward the center.  (However, this is the same Immelt who sent GE's Imaging division overseas!!!)  But without real changes to the overregulation strangling business growth, those signals may be seen as all smoke, no fire. And if private-sector job growth does not improve, voters may punish Obama at the polls.  No matter how the White House and the MSM spin it, unemployment above 9% SHOULD be a death knell for any president.

11. Republicans Are More Trusted

The country yearns for an optimistic leader who believes in America, and who is willing to make hard choices to save future generations from the burden of our mistakes. Many thought that was Obama’s promise. No matter how it may be spun, the midterm elections were a referendum on the president’s performance and platform.  Polls now show that Republicans are now more trusted on all the top issues, including the economy, taxes, and health care.

12.  Going Green?

Obama continues to push green (and in July GM sold only 250 Volt cars nationwide), Cap & Trade – which will force utility prices to rise at the same time.  The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 69% say it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who say this is Very Likely.  The debate over global warming has intensified in recent weeks after a new NASA study further undercut the argument that global warming is largely man-made.  Wonder if that’s why Obama’s cutting back NASA activities…


13.  A Misery Index?

Obama’s full-month Job Approval Index rating for July, 2011 as measured for the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll was down two points from June to -17. That’s his lowest full-month approval rating this year and matches the lowest findings of his presidency, reached only twice before. 
14. The Vision Thing

President Obama has matched his lowest job approval rating again in the last few weeks.  He has remained under 50% for months.  Obama’s considered weak in his handling of the economy, and trust in his ability to handle health care has dropped to a new low. And only 37 percent of independents would vote to re-elect Obama if the election were held today.  It doesn’t help his cause that he and his family take expensive and exotic vacations, or that he’s on the golf course or at fund raisers as the nation’s economy continues to slide.

The birthday boy took off for Chicago to do some fundraising before the ink was dry on the debt ceiling increase bill.  His work is cut out for him.  A $1 billion campaign fund may not be enough if the GOP’s “Candidate X” presents a compelling and distinctly different narrative, a better vision for tomorrow.  (Republicans remain ahead on the Generic Congressional Ballot as they have every week since June 2009 and the GOP generic presidential candidate has outpolled the president in 10 of 13 surveys conducted weekly since early May.)

[From an article at thedailybeast.com back in January –updated, revised, expanded  and edited by me with polling data from July Rasmussen surveys]

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