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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gallup: 45% Would Vote To Reelect Obama, 45% Would Vote For Nameless Republican

Into his third year of presidency, Barack Obama finds himself behind where George Bush (both of them)was at a similar time in their presidencies, according to Gallup. At this time 45 percent of registered voters would support Obama's reelection bid with 45 percent saying they would vote for a generic Republican, meaning a nameless, faceless Republican ties Obama in polling for the 2012 presidential election.

In polling from October 2001 through January 2004, George W. Bush consistently led an unnamed Democratic opponent, although by a shrinking margin as his job approval rating descended from a post-9/11 reading of 87% to the 50s and 60s. In February 2003, the point in Bush's presidency comparable to Obama's presidency today, Bush beat a generic Democrat among registered voters by 47% to 39%.

The major issues that will come into play for the 2012 presidential election will be jobs and the unemployment rate, the economy and as November 2010 midterms showed by exit polling and commentary, government spending and the federal deficit will surely come into play behind jobs and economy.


For unemployment, the consensus forecast was 9.3 percent for 2011 and 8.6 percent for 2012. The 10 most pessimistic averaged 9 percent, and the 10 most upbeat averaged 8.2 percent.

The unemployment rate has never averaged above 8 percent during a presidential election year, according to Labor Department data stretching back to 1948. (Source)

As I mention in all the unemployment rate posts, the Department of Labor does not count millions that are able and want to work but do not seek work in the 4 weeks prior to their reports, with those numbers included, unemployment and/or underemployment is much higher than the national official numbers show.

The “U-6” rate, an alternative measure of labor underutilization that adds up rates of unemployment—those working part-time but seeking full-time work as well as those who have given up looking—came in at 16.1 percent, down from 16.7 percent in December and 17 percent in October and November.

In January of last year the U-6 rate was 18 percent. Though it is down 2 points in a year, it is still about twice the normal rate. While largely unpublicized, this rate is probably a better measurement of the kind of unemployment and underemployment that affects many families and drives their attitudes about the economy. (Source)

The official number is the one heard most often and reported on, but the U-6 is what people feel at home, especially those unemployed or who have family members that are unemployed.

Spending cuts/Deficit:

Obama's highly criticized (from both sides of the aisle) budget proposal will bring the deficit up to $1.65 trillion for 2011 and included some spending cuts but still has the government spending more than it brings in.

As ABC news pointed out, "At no point in the president’s 10-year projection would the U.S. government spend less than it's taking in."

To spend more than you bring in, you have to borrow and we pay interest on what we borrow.

According to Wapo, "Interest payments on the national debt will quadruple in the next decade and every man, woman and child in the United States will be paying more than $2,500 a year to cover for the nation's past profligacy, according to figures in President Obama's new budget plan. "

Recent polling shows 55 percent of American voters do not think it included enough spending cuts.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of voters say they have been following recent news stories about the president’s 2012 budget which was made public on Monday. That includes 43% who say they have been following Very Closely.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 59% of unaffiliated voters say the president’s proposed budget cuts too little. A plurality (49%) of Democrats says the planned cuts are about right.

Conservatives overwhelmingly think Obama’s budget cuts too little, and most say the same of planned GOP spending cuts. The majority of liberals say the president’s proposed cuts are about right but say planned Republican budget cutting is too much.

Republicans have countered Obama's budget with spending cuts of their own to include $61 billion from 2010 levels and about $100 billion from the amount Obama requested, but never received, for this year. Obama has threatened to veto that plan.

40 percent of voters, according to the same poll, do not think the GOP's proposed spending cuts go far enough either.

By a 57 percent to 28 percent margin voters believe that cutting government spending would do more to create jobs than building a high-speed rail network which is one of the president’s proposals.

While polling this far out from the 2012 elections cannot predict what the outcome will be, only circumstances closer to the election can do that, the fact that Obama is only tied with a nameless, faceless Republican in his third year, does not bode well for him considering his own 2012 projections for unemployment and his predilection for spending more than we take in and cutting less than American voters want.

Polling also is a good indicator of patterns and according to the linked Gallup poll at the beginning of this post, in February of 2010, 44 percent of voters supported Obama's reelection bid with only 42 percent supporting an unnamed Republican. February 2011 the split is 45/45.

Andrew Malcolm from LA Times' Top of the Ticket, sums it up nicely:

The GOP doesn't even need a frontrunner to catch the incumbent of the most powerful political office in the world. No wonder Obama's bringing fresh blood into the White House and shipping out aides to kick-start the billion-dollar campaign back in Chicago.

A new Gallup Poll finds Obama a little worse off in that generic presidential ballot category this year than he was last year at this time.

One last set of numbers to keep our eyes on, which personally I believe will greatly impact Obama's reelection chances.

Direction of the country:

On average, from all polls conducted gauging the mood of the country on whether they think the U.S. is on the right track or heading in the wrong direction, show a majority (60 percent) believing America is on the wrong track.

CBS News/NY Times- 64 percent say wrong track, 32 percent say right direction.

Rasmussen Reports- 64 percent say wrong track, 31 percent say right direction.

ABC News/Washington Post- 60 percent say wrong track, 38 percent say right direction.

Reuters/Ipsos- 57 percent say wrong track, 38 percent say right direction.

NBC News/Wall Street Journal- 56 percent say wrong track, 35 percent say right direction.

If Obama cannot make a dent in those numbers, his reelection chances will decrease.

Conservatives need think long and hard about who they choose to run against Obama in 2012. They need to decide what is a priority in their eyes and what is not and choose accordingly. If the polling patterns continue along the same lines as they have been for the last year, the wrong candidate choice could hand Barack Obama a second term.