Monday, July 09, 2012

The State of President Obama's Uphill Climb: Negatives and Positives

No doubt about it: President Obama has got an uphill climb. Some negatives:

1) June was challenger Mitt Romney's best fundraising month -- $106 million (up from $76 million in May; probably due to Supreme Court decision on health care).

2) The jobs report numbers sucked. As Noam Scheiber writes in TNR:
" ..(I)f there’s one thing that really jumps out at you in today’s jobs report, it’s that the private sector isn’t doing so hot after all. In June, private employers added a mere 84,000 jobs. They added 105,000 jobs the month before, and 85,000 the month before that. To put this in some context, the economy needs to add about 100,000 to 150,000 new jobs each month just to keep up with population growth; the private sector has averaged 91,000 over the past three months. Which is to say, even if government job losses weren’t weighing us down, we'd still be struggling because the private sector has been pretty damn anemic. "
3) The Hill has a new poll out showing that a majority of the country believes President Obama has changed the country for the worse:

"Two-thirds of likely voters say President Obama has kept his 2008 campaign promise to change America — but it’s changed for the worse, according to a sizable majority.

A new poll for The Hill found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama’s first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership."
Harsh! Now, some positives for the President

1) North Carolina -- believe it or not -- is still a toss up. If Mitt Romney cannot win North Carolina, it is hard to imagine him winnign the White House. The Tar Heels state lean Romney, but not in such great numbers that Obama is not competitive. Yes, Obaam does terribly with white working class voters that have never been to college -- but he does well with women, minorities and the college educated. Demographic changes have made North Carolina much less Jesse Helms country over the last decade.

2) Further, beyond North Carolina, Obama is holding slim leads in the battleground states. This year a dozen states -- toss-ups -- will determing who will be the President of these United States and it will not be the most populous (NY, CA, TX).  From TheHill:

"A new poll shows President Obama maintaining a narrow lead over Mitt Romney in pivotal battleground states, posting a 2-point advantage in the 12 contests expected to decide November's presidential election.

"The president's 47 to 45 percent lead in the survey, released Sunday evening by USA Today and Gallup, mirrors his standing from the same poll conducted in May.

"The survey included voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Nevada, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and North Carolina."
I make no great prediction in saying that this 2012 race will be a squeaker, mirroring the nearly even hyper-partisan divide in this country, with the results probably not known on election night. In fact, it is not improbable that -- like Bush v. Gore -- this will be such a close election that the results will be contested for weeks after. May we live in interesting times ...

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