Heading toward 2012, the numbers do not look good for President Obama.
Unless he can turn them around, the prospects for his re-election are not bright.
Look at some of the changes among key groups between 2008 and 2010. Support for Obama among key independent voters has dropped from about 52 percent to 42 percent. In fact, Democrats lost independents in the recent midterm election by about 20 points.
Obama's support among women has dropped from an impressive 56 percent in 2008 to 49 percent now. Among younger voters (18 to 29 year-olds) he's down from a resounding 66 percent to 58 percent now. In fact, in nearly every category, Obama is down. He never had a very high popularity among senior citizens and now he's lost another eight percentage points among that group. Among middle-agers he's lost five points. Among men, Obama is down from a not-so-respectable 49 percent to 44 percent. Among white voters he's slipped from 43 percent to 37 percent. And even among Hispanic voters, Obama has dropped from 67 percent in 2008 to 58 percent now. Of course, among African-American voters Obama's support remains disproportionately high, to say the least.
But the figures among the other diverse groups are the reasons why Obama's overall popularity has been effectively halved, from the mid 70s to the high 30s.
These numbers and much more are detailed in an excellent column by Byron York in the Washington Examiner. And while York notes that Obama will probably see some upticks among some of these groups, he's still got a steep hill to climb. Right now things don't look very rosy.
Click here to read more.
Three thoughts here:
1. As James Carville famously said, "it's the economy, stupid." If the economy improves even by a few points between now and Nov. 2012, Obama's re-election chances go up dramatically.
2. If the Republican base is smart, it will swallow its disappointment and coalesce around a Presidential candidate who will be appealing to independents and moderate Dems. While independents may not like Obama very much, they like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich even less and would probably hold their noses and vote for Obama.
3. The GOP better not make the same mistakes it made in 1995 and 1996. If they do what McConnell has said and focus their energy on defeating Obama rather than on solving problems, they're going to get voted right back out of power. America wants its elected leaders to lead and accomplish, not just score political brownie points.
Your comments are always illuminating, Josh. The GOP must navigate a delicate balance: Actually working to accomplish the right things while not alienating its base.
It's tricky, but elephants can be surprisingly nimble.
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