You read that headline right.
Other stories about the new Bloomberg poll will (appropriately) highlight Obama's indifferent showing and the country's economic angst, but I want to start with this question for context:
Thinking ahead to the election in 2012, which worries you more: (Read items. Rotate.)Politico adds in their write-up:
Republicans will gain control of both houses of Congress and the presidency and will implement their proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and many other domestic programs 49
Democrats will retain the White House and at least one house of Congress and continue current spending policies 40
Not sure 11
Of independents surveyed, 47 percent say they are worried about Republican control while 37 percent say they are more concerned about a second Obama term.Having said that, let's get to the bad news. From Bloomberg:
Two years after the official start of the recovery, the American people remain pessimistic about their current economic circumstances and longer-term prospects.There are numbers here to suggest that with the past month's bad economic news on jobs and the economy, the GOP message of lower taxes and lower government spending has legs. Still:
Fewer than a quarter of people see signs of improvement in the economy, and two-thirds say they believe the country is on the wrong track overall, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted June 17-20.
Even so, the public remains ambivalent about the Republican Party’s economic stewardship. Asked to rate Obama’s vision for the economy against that of the Republicans, poll respondents favor the president’s by 40 percent to 37 percent, though that is a deterioration from a 12-percentage-point advantage Obama maintained three months ago.No one can survive a deteriorating economy, but the question is whether it'll look more like stability than deterioration come 2012.
There are clear vulnerabilities for the WH highlighted in this poll, but as Charlie Cook reminds us in a related context:
None of this means Obama can’t win reelection.Yes, the GOP field is weak, no question about it. And by primary's end, it may even be that for the GOP by recent standards, they are unusually divided. Still, "it's the economy, stupid," same as it ever was, with some extra buffering built in for Obama because folks still blame Bush for getting us here, and fear what Republicans will do if they get the opportunity to occupy the White House.
It’s just that there are a lot of factors that will go into whether he gets his contract renewed, factors that go well beyond whom Republicans choose to be their nominee.
Fundamentals matter in politics; too often the focus is on personalities. The identity of the Republican nominee is obviously important, particularly if the race is as close as many expect.
But the fundamentals are what make the contest close or less competitive.