Tuesday, November 23, 2010

He's Below 40

I still think, despite all of the problems and the mid-term "shellacking", that President Obama will win re-election.  Incumbents generally win -- history is replete with examples of this, but just look at the last century.  Incumbent Presidents only tend to lose when they'r ebeing challenged by a third-party candidate from their own party or subjected to a serious primary challenge, and even then there's usually economic malaise.  The only incumbent Presidents to lose re-election bids were Taft (third-party candidate originally from his own party), Hoover (Great Depression), Ford (primary challenge and he was never elected in the first place), Carter (primary challenge and he basically invented malaise), and Bush 41 (primary challenge and the economy, at least according to the media, was still in a recession).

Then again... Zogby just came in with Obama's job approval number this morning, and it's at 39%.   To a certain degree, that's irrelevant, since there's no election for more than 23 months.  But he just cracked below the 40% barrier, and Zogby's numbers also show more than a quarter of Democrats disapprove of his performance.  I have no idea if those Dems view him as too liberal or too moderate or too incompetent, but that's just inviting a primary challenge.  And the economy isn't exactly roaring along.

I'm not saying Obama will lose in 2012.  But if you had asked me before his Presidency started whether his approval ratings would ever plunge this low, I would have guessed no.  He's in very dangerous territory politically, and his team hasn't shown the ability to manage such political problems well.  Granted, he benefits from a less-than-intimidating set of potential opponents.  But if that approval number slips even a little bit more, it may not matter whom he is facing.

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