Thursday, May 17, 2012

2012 Election: Gallup Economy #1 Issue, Historical Polling Trends - Not Indicative of a Second Obama Administration: Wisconsin: Obama Romney Tied

Obama Vs. Romney, Tied in Wisconsin - Democrat Stronghold - image

Gallup Polling’s, “National Mood” poll suggests that the general election will be based on the economy as the pollsters historical patters indicate that the percentage of mentions of the economy as the number one issue are higher than any general election since May of 1980. In the pollsters report, the comparison of the economy as the top concern among voters began with Lyndon Johnson in 1964 – in May of each general election where the economy was weighed in an incumbents reelection prospects: 1964, Johnson: 0%, 1972: Nixon, 17%, 1976: Ford, 0%, 1980: Carter, 73%, 1984: Reagan, 55%, 1992: Bush, 56%, 1996: Clinton, 44%, 2004: Bush, 39% and May 2012: Obama, 66%. The trend is indicative of an uphill battle for President Obama, with, as Gallup indicates, 6 months to go before the November elections.

Perhaps the best campaign slogan to date, based on economic indicators was Bill Clinton’s in his run against Gerald Ford: “It’s the Economy, Stupid” – which is in use world-wide today, from from Canada’s Ottawa Citizen in regards to the economic downturn being “good” for the current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to the Daily Beast’s, “It’s Still the Economy Stupid”, article outlining Bill Clinton’s 2011, 14 point plan to put America “back to work”.

The Gallup Poll also includes May Job approval ratings, the highest incumbents were Johnson in 1964 (75%), and Richard Nixon in 1972 (62%), with the lowest, George H Bush (40%), and Carter (43%) and Gerald Ford, (43%) – tied. 2 points separate the May job approval ratings of George W. Bush (49%) in 2004, and Barack Obama (47%) in 2012. This data, included with the economic indicators give the pollster the sense that currently, the President’s prospects of reelection are “uncertain”.

The latest state poll out of Wisconsin, from Marquette Law School shows a dead heat between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both at 46% In this most recent poll it was noted that Republican’s are more enthusiastic about voting (91%), compared to Democrats and Independents (83%). In addition, the pollster has found that the Presidents lead of 9% in April has evaporated, his likability has also fallen, while Romney’s has risen slightly – bringing both the incumbent and challenger to the “toss-up” category. The number one issue Democrats: Jobs and the Economy.

Although is it still early in political terms, as far as any election is concerned, the consistency with Gallup polling and Obama’s reelection prospects has remained largely unchanged for the past two years. Should this polling remain the same, going into September and October, it is highly probable that the President would not be re-elected. In addition, branding should be considered as a factor – in 2008, the Republican “brand” had taken a toll, in general, both George W. Bush combined with Congressional rankings made it nearly impossible for a GOP candidate to succeed. Given the fact that John McCain was not the most formidable candidate, it was the Democrat’s election year. In May of that year, it was Hillary Clinton who topped the charts, only losing to Obama at the Democrat Convention – not by popular vote, but by “super-delegate vote” or, in other words, a body of both Clinton’s and Obama’s peers. Super-delegates are generally made up of high profile political party members, as well as current members of the House and Senate. Clinton campaigned heavily on experience, while Obama campaigned on bringing the nation together, politically and more specifically the war in Iraq – at that time (May of 2008) the economy was not a central issue.

It should be noted, that in the Gallup polling data, one understands that factoring the economy alone as the primary focus of the public, those President’s who followed an incumbent who’s handling of the economy was seen as sub-standard by the public, only won re-election by taking steps to improve the economy, in second terms (Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush) the economy was not a factor.

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