Obama’s Weakened Position: Part Two

By Dave Andrusko

Since pro-lifers are passionately concerned about saving unborn babies, they also keep a close eye—even months and months out—on elections. Having men and women sympathetic to the cause of preborn children in office is crucially important if the little ones are going to be welcomed in life and protected in law.

I mention that by way of preface to a story that does not treat President Obama’s reelection as if it is a foregone conclusion.

The oldest double whammy trick in politics is to bludgeon opponents with an avalanche of money and a welter of stories about how “inevitable” is your election/re-election. We’ve read a lot of that about pro-abortion President Obama—richer in political contributions than King Midas and on cruise control politically. But it was not true then and it grows less true by the month.

The piece in the respected publication “Roll Call” is headlined “Democrats Scale Back 2012 Map.” The core of the story by Christina Bellantoni is that the Obama campaign is retreating from “the ambitious strategy that the hopeful Team Obama once showcased to psych out opponents.”

All that means in English is that not so long ago, the President’s political advisors were so confident that Everyone Loved Obama that they could and would compete in all 50 states. It was all bravado, but the idea was to discourage Republican challengers. (Never mind that assumes child-like innocence on the part of grown-up politicians.)

To be clear, Obama’s advisers are still telling Bellantoni there are “multiple routes for the president to reach the 270 Electoral College votes that he needs on Nov. 6, 2012.” Indeed, the story can be read as a pronouncement that there while there may be states he carried in 2008 that will be more difficult to win next year, there are enough other states “in play” that he lost in 2008 that Obama will win perhaps convincingly. (The story also drops the hint that this might largely be all for show—“to help drum up grass-roots support and donations.”)

Could be that some or all of this is at play. Our task is not to worry about the political machinations behind planted stories like this, but to coolly and calmly examine the terrain.

We talked about Obama’s weaknesses a couple of days ago. Let me mention two numbers to illustrate how Obama’s weakness can be masked.

The launching point for a wave of stories about what a great position Obama supposedly is in was a POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground poll from this week. That poll showed 59% of those surveyed saying they will either “definitely” vote for the president or “consider” reelecting him compared to 38% who said they definitely will not vote to reelect Obama.

But only 30% will definitely vote for him (versus 38% who will definitely not vote to reelect him). Another 29% will “consider” voting for Obama. This is NOT the show of support various media reports made the poll out to be.

Likewise with his favorability numbers. Gallup’s latest numbers are only a few days old. They don’t ask about re-election but Gallup does report that as of May 13, Obama’s approval rating was back at 46% after a momentary surge.

And that doesn’t even address what everyone is now saying will be the key issue next year: the economy. The numbers show “widespread disapproval of Barack Obama’s handling of the economy,” in the words of Andy Barr, writing for POLITICO. Only 42% approved while 57% disapproved of his handling of the economy, a 15% difference.

But because—for now—52% say they approve of Obama’s handling of his job, Obama is described as “surprisingly immune  to economic fears.” But as we just noted, Gallup’s response shows 6% less approval that the POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground poll.

The point is a simple one. President Obama should not be underestimated, but neither should anyone be bamboozled into thinking he is invincible. In fact, Obama is in a very weaken state.

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