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Will the president be laughing in 2012? The numbers are fascinating. (Official WH photo by Pete Souza)

Tom Jensen, who writes much of the analysis on behalf of our polling partners at PPP, broke down the new numbers in Pennsylvania earlier in the week. In so doing, Jensen made an analytical point that he has used so often this cycle he probably need only cut-and-paste it at this point:

If there's one thing Obama does have going for him in Pennsylvania it's that voters don't think much of any of his prospective Republican opponents either. Bachmann has the 'best' favorability rating but it's still a -7 spread at 34/41. That's followed by Romney (35/46) and Cain (22/33) at -11, Pawlenty (21/39) at -18, Palin (36/57) at -21, and Santorum (31/54) at -23. Obama's able to tie Romney and lead the rest of the GOP hopefuls despite his own unpopularity because they are even more unpopular. It's just another reminder that with the economy still doing poorly Obama's best hope may be for the Republicans to put forth someone so unpalatable that he wins on a sort of 'lesser of two evils' vote.

PPP is not the only one to notice that the field of GOP contenders vying to challenge the president are largely unknown and mostly unloved. Examining the 2011 compendium of polls put together by the website Polling Report, here are the average fav/unfav numbers for the leading GOP candidates:

Ron Paul: 35/30 (4 polls)
Mitt Romney: 36/32 (8 polls)
Herman Cain: 21/17 (2 polls)
Michele Bachmann: 27/24 (6 polls)
Tim Pawlenty: 22/21 (6 polls)
Jon Huntsman: 15/15 (5 polls)
Rick Santorum: 21/22 (5 polls)
Rick Perry: 22/25 (1 poll)
Newt Gingrich: 28/45 (10 polls)
Sarah Palin: 32/56 (12 polls)

(Note: Polling Report does not include automated pollsters in their database)

Taking the perennially unpopular pairing of Gingrich and Palin out of the equation, the balance of the GOP field is a quivering mass of "meh." Nobody scores a net favorability of higher than +5, and it isn't solely because of a lack of name recognition (indeed, half of the field is recognized by a majority of respondents).

How does that compare with previous years? Looking at the last presidential election, check out the fav/unfavs for the first half of 2007 for the three leading players on the Democratic side (Obama, Clinton, and Edwards) and three leading players on the GOP side (McCain, Giuliani, and Romney):

Rudy Giuliani (R): 54/24 (21 polls)
Barack Obama (D): 45/20 (23 polls)
John McCain (R): 45/27 (24 polls)
John Edwards (D): 42/27 (21 polls)
Hillary Clinton (D): 46/43 (24 polls)
Mitt Romney (R): 19/19 (23 polls)

The differences are pretty stark. The 2008 fields, on both sides, had at least a couple of candidates who were both well known, and reasonably well liked. Based on this, it would seem that the characterizations of the current Republican group as uniformly weak has some merit.

The Polling Report database gets a little thinner dating back to 2003, but it is worth noting that the few polls lodged there had John Kerry at roughly a +11 net favorability, as well.

The problem for the GOP field, at present, isn't that it is a mass of unknown quantities. It is that they are known, and not particularly beloved. This puts a bit of a limit on the upside for many of these candidates. The bulk of the GOP field already has unfavorabilities with the electorate that matched their 2008 compatriots, but with roughly half of their favorables. That is not attractive math for the GOP.

Does this mean that President Obama is in the driver's seat for re-election? Not necessarily. The 2010 elections, in at least one sense, could serve as a cautionary tale for 2012.

It could well be an errant assumption that the president can take advantage of the lack of horsepower on the GOP side and ride it to a re-election win. Last year proved, if nothing else, that unpopular opposition does not a victory make. Consider what, in my mind, was the most amazing statistic from the 2010 exit polls. On Election Day, even as the Republicans were swiping everything that wasn't bolted down, they actually had a lower net favorability (41/53) than did the Democratic Party (44/52). A big part of the Democratic margin of defeat came from voters who were dissatisfied with the GOP, but voted for them anyway. Nearly a quarter of voters who had an unfavorable view of the GOP ended up voting Republican anyway.

Therefore, the big question may not be how popular the GOP contenders are, but how popular the president will be come Election Day.

To be sure, presidential approval ratings are always a key indicator of his re-election prospects. In the case of Barack Obama, his approval ratings fall in what could best be defined as a grey area. As Gallup's Frank Newport noted a few weeks ago:

Presidents with job approval ratings below 48% tend to lose their bids for re-election. Presidents with ratings at the 48% level (for George W. Bush) or above 50% for the rest, tend to win. As noted, there are not many cases to work with here. As seen with Truman, exceptions can occur. But if Obama is at 50% or higher next October, it certainly would not be too risky to hypothesize that he has a better than 50-50 chance of winning re-election. And if his job approval rating is down at 43%...his chances of winning re-election are probably lower than 50-50.

The failure of the Republicans to have a well-known, well-liked candidate in the wings is what has kept the president in the ballgame thus far, despite a generally pessimistic electorate. And it is certainly possible for him to parlay voter concerns about the GOP field into re-election. In an odd way, the GOP seizure of the House last year probably aids the president to that end, because grumpy voters who want to "send a message" to Washington are no longer automatically relegated to voting Republican.

That said, President Obama's cause would be greatly aided by finding a slightly larger reservoir of goodwill with the electorate. That could come from a bump in the economy, or it could come from being on the right side of a showdown with Congressional Republicans. Either way, given the lack of strength on the other side of the table, it might not take much to make the president into a betting favorite. But how he plays his hands in the coming months still has an enormous impact.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Doesn't it stand to reason that... (6+ / 0-)

    the value of historical trends related to the correlation between a president's approval rating and their reelection chances are somewhat mooted by the recent (past 10 years or so) proliferation of pollsters?

    Or is Frank Newport speaking only of Gallup's approval ratings?

    •  Reagan could be running and it wouldnt matter (0+ / 0-)

      it's not the candidates its their IDEA(singular). No one likes tax cuts for the wealthy and that is the only idea they have. Anyone that doesn't adhere to that idea will not get out of the primary or will lose the base come the general if they don't adhere to it.

      •  Oh, you're so wrong... (0+ / 0-)

        If the GOP had a good candidate, a Reagan, a Bill Clinton, or even a George W. Bush, Obama would already be toast.  Haven't the last 30 years shown that in presidential elections, the message doesn't matter nearly as much as the messanger?  

        Al Gore had the right message, and he lost to the guy everybody wanted to have a beer with.  John Kerry had a pretty good message, and he lost to a guy with an unpopular war and a jobless recovery - because he was the wind-surfing Frenchman, and GWB was a decidin', no compromisin' he-man.

        Obama has lost the shine of that "he's whatever we want to believe he is" candidate from 2008.  He is in the dangerous GWB territory of "lesser of two evils" category for most of his supporters.  Worse, he is in danger of slipping into the treacherous Jimmy Carter land of "nobody loves this guy".  We saw it last week, when he was repudiated by congressional leaders of his own party, and outright excoriated on this blog.  Forget "love", with the exception of a few factions of the Dem base, nobody even seems to like him.

        Obama can still win.  His approvals are in GWB range, and the GOP field is, at present, weak (but we thought the Dem field was weak in 1992 before WJC emerged).  But, like GWB (and unlike Reagan and Clinton), he will not be able to run on his record and basically ignore his opponent.  He will instead have to run on the record of the GOP candidate.  And, depending on who that candidate is, and how the "Obama economy" is doing, this will be a very close election.  I'd call it 50-50 right now.

  •  The big problem for the GOP (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, TofG, Dragon5616, Fury, Matt Z

    is not the the unknown part, because they will have enough Koch brothers behind them to get them known, but still no amount of money can get them loved. At least, I don't think it could.

    The next time your house is on fire--call a libertarian.

    by pollbuster on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:09:07 PM PDT

    •  Remember the Quizno's Sponge Monkey... (6+ / 0-)

      ...commercials? Annoying as hell. This is the upper limit of Citizens United, the threshold of annoyance. The Koch Bros. can bankrupt themselves for all I care, but immersing a pig in melted lipstick and it's still a pig, albeit with a shiny red waxy coating.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:22:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But It Lets the Dems Be a 2nd Conservative (6+ / 0-)

        party advancing the rich and corporations at the expense of the people, and people thinking decades afterward that they'd risen when they sank.

        There's no venue and no oxygen to support mention nor debate of reality.

        That's all that matters.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:39:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To change this... (0+ / 0-)

          ...we need to retake the House, and beef up the Democratic majority in the Senate. Obama may get our votes, and a whole new bunch of angry Democrats in Congress, but nothing else. Let him enjoy his Wall Street money, he doesn't need any from us. Better to have a Democratic Congress to annoy him.

          Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

          by JeffW on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:49:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  If Bernie Sanders Ran For POTUS as Independent, (0+ / 0-)

          how do you think this would affect the 2012 outcome and would you vote for Bernie over Obama/GOP, knowing he couldn't win? If so, why?

          •  Cause Bernie would (0+ / 0-)

            not austeritize my ass. Bernie would not talk and work for  winning the future for the corps and the IMF banksters. He would actually pump single payer and not make deals with the for profit privatizers. Endless war don't think Bernie would use his power to illegally invade, kill and torture in ordure to pursue the neocon wet dream. But what do I know I thought Obama would be a stand up moral legal bottom up president, a Democrat who would show some audacity and get us some real democracy. lol.

            •  I won't do any of those bad things to you (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              and I can guarantee it more than Bernie. And I'll more than do all the good things. Would you vote for me?

              The next time your house is on fire--call a libertarian.

              by pollbuster on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 10:32:43 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you betcha (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                but if you bait and switch me you'll have a hell hath no fury woman on your ass.

                •  Okay, great, now since I have no other supporters (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  can you please front me the 800 mil to get this campaign off the ground? Thanking you in advance. And you needn't worry about a bait and switch, I can already tell you that you are my running mate.

                  The next time your house is on fire--call a libertarian.

                  by pollbuster on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 04:25:12 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We would be better (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    then anything being offered up now. However if we did get traction we would be killed. none of these power brokers wants a serious challenge the only people that take them on and are a viable threat to the status quo get dead, literally and figuratively .

                    •  Now, that's really not a joyful beginning to this (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      campaign, but look Bernie is still alive, and you said you'd vote for Bernie because he challenges the status quo, so I think we have a live future in this thing. Now just do your job , and get the 800 mil.

                      The next time your house is on fire--call a libertarian.

                      by pollbuster on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 05:37:23 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  okay first (0+ / 0-)

                        I gotta make the mortgage for August, lol. Seriously my state house  Representative a young 30 something beat the money in our district and won with 85% of the vote in the last election He ran as a Dem and a Working Family Party candidate . He's the son of  a DFH and a chip off the bloc a smart one.  He entered the political scene via working for Dean.  My district is so liberal that my state senator said Che would have a hard time winning her seat. Jules our state rep. is working for a state bank here in Oregon. Don't know where you live but I think I could win big  in my district if I ran like Bernie and had the energy.  

                        •  Okay, I think you have a good idea, (0+ / 0-)

                          run for something local before going for vice-president. You have my support. In the mean time, keep working on raising the 800 mil to bank for our big run. We will have a good geographical balance, I'm from New York.

                          The next time your house is on fire--call a libertarian.

                          by pollbuster on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 08:59:11 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

      •  don't buy georga pacific products (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, mcartri, pollbuster

        all you have to do is look at the back of the label to know if you should not buy it.

      •  I loved the spongmonkeys (0+ / 0-)

        'cause they were good enough!

        My avatar shows what proportion want reps who compromise (shown in blue) or who stand fast no matter what (shown in green). Left is Overall; center is Democrats; right is Republicans.

        Therein lies the problem.

        by Seneca Doane on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 03:02:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The big problem for the GOP is that (0+ / 0-)

      Snowmobile Snookie hasn't entered the race yet.......

      it tastes like burning...

      by eastvan on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 08:18:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As for the idea of voters sending a message to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollbuster, Matt Z

        DC.....some did in Nov '10.

         How'd that work out? Hmmmm - not so good I'd venture. Especially for those that thought they could send a message by staying home, pouting about the lack of unicorns,rainbows, kittens and puppies that didn't magicly appear after '08.......


        it tastes like burning...

        by eastvan on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 08:25:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Every current and prospective... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MTmofo, Sydserious

    ...Republican candidate is, for lack of a better word, a mope. Unfortunately, President Obama seems to be taking his base (us) for granted.

    Full disclosure: I didn't spend a cent on the President in 2008, nor a minute, save those necessary to vote for him. I could say it was because I was, at the time, a public employee, but next year he will get my vote, and nothing more, unless he does something radical and positive, like force Boehner to give him a clean debt-limit bill, or tell Boehner he's irrelevant and invoke the 14th Amendment. Until that happens, he has my vote, and that's it.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:09:15 PM PDT

  •  Reelection campaigns are referendums (8+ / 0-)

    on the incumbent for the most part.

    That said, if thre GOP does not nominate Romney, then the GOP candidate will be a big issue, a la Goldwater in 64.

    And of course Romney could be a sort of Kerry type, just bad enough of a candidate to allow Obama to squeak by.

    At this point though, a very close election seems a safe bet.

    I would not have thought so 6 months ago.

    Obama is inflicting wounds on himself.

  •  Is Obama... (15+ / 0-)

    ..blessed by the quality of his opposition?

    Put it this way:  In the history of presidential elections, never has this country seen a coterie of outlandishly unserious, clownish idiots such as we are seeing in this current Republican field.

    So, yes.  Obama is blessed by the quality of his opposition.


    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:12:55 PM PDT

  •  The unfav. numbers are interesting. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock, Dragon5616

    Do those numbers point to a Huntsmen or Perry being able to define themselves and emerging from the pack as a legit contender?

  •  My comparison (5+ / 0-)

    is 1996 -- with Dole as Romney, and Buchanan as the right wing trying to get the nomination.

  •  He has little competition on the left either (8+ / 0-)

    While he could certainly lose a DKos poll to any number of gadflies, there is nobody on the left that would please kossacks with greater standing amongst voters.

    For those Ickes in a perennial disappointment loop - it might be worth remembering that there are no superheroes waiting in the wings.  We are lucky we have him, otherwise we might very well be at the whim of the tea party.

    WARNING: Your diary/comment/attitude/etc may dishonor Ted Kennedy!

    by snout on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:18:17 PM PDT

    •  I remember saying during 2008 primaries (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, TofG, mcartri, Matt Z, Odysseus

      that whoever one was going to inherit a real mess, and would likely be a one term president because of how long it would take to clean it up.  Part of the frustration is that Obama could have accepted that fate as the most likely outcome, and simply governed accordingly...but what's the point of even going there at this late date.

      I think there's a very high likelihood that, should Obama lose somehow, the next president will be facing the same exact scenario.  A country that is FUBAR...and 4 years of strife, hyper partisanship, a disgruntled citizenry, global capitalism fraying at the seams.  

      That might be the assessment of some of the Republicans who decided not to jump into this race as well.

      We can argue about whether or not we are in the midst of a recovery or not, but the stuff going down in Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and even Belgium has the potential to kick the feet out from underneath the economy yet again.  In this global economy, we're all chained together on the face of the mountain.  One or two climbers slip and fall, and the whole team falls into the chasm with them.

      "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile." Hunter S. Thompson

      by Keith930 on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:47:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z, Odysseus

        I think this is exactly the struggle Perry is having personally, if indeed he is seriously thinking of running.  Why else would he wait so long?  It's obvious that his base is salivating as the prospect of Good Hair saving them all.  I feel that even in the slightest of chances that whoever the GOP nominee is also happens to win, that there is no hope with their policies of turning the economy around to deliver them a second term.  It would be a failure from the start.   They know this.

        •  If things get so bad... (0+ / 0-)

          that the GOP candidate wins, they'll hold the House, and probably flip the Senate as well.  Then, knowing how eager Senate Dems are to cooperate, it will be Katy bar the Door!.

          And, keep this in mind, whether or not we actually get SS cuts in this debt ceiling deal, the damage is done.  Obama has touched the third rail by endorsing them by not ruling them out.  Now it is acceptable to discuss entitlement reform on both sides of the aisle.  Judging by Wisconsin, Ohio, PA, NJ, IN, etc., the next all-Republican congress sure won't miss their chance.

          And, entitlement reform can probably be done through reconciliation.

  •  I've been worried about this... (6+ / 0-)
    That said, President Obama's cause would be greatly aided by finding a slightly larger reservoir of goodwill with the electorate. That could come from a bump in the economy, or it could come from being on the right side of a showdown with Congressional Republicans.

    That is what Obama needs and I fear cutting 2 Trillion in spending will do the opposite. And unemployment may rise.

    If things get worse... these terrible candidates will have a fighting chance.

    Not only that. But after 4 years of a terrible economy it will be harder to solicit donations from the middle-class and working poor. Not to mention recruiting volunteers to GOTV.

    This is a crisis I knew had to come, Destroying the balance I'd kept. Doubting, unsettling and turning around, Wondering what will come next.
    --Ian Curtis

    by jethrock on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:18:35 PM PDT

    •  Ding, Ding, Ding (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SwedishJewfish, chrississippi

      We have a winner.

      Not only will they have a fighting chance. One of them is going to win. 10% unemployment isn't a recipe for victory and it's probably too late to do anything about it.

      Carter wanted to face Reagan in 1980 thinking he was too conservative for the electorate. But as has been mentioned before it's a referendum on the candidate and their own lives. Right now, for most people, that isn't looking good.

      •  Apples vs oranges compared to 1980 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TofG, chrississippi, Matt Z

        America was told they were weak, so they needed a Hero to make themselves feel better about themselves but Bonzo was dead, so they got his co-star instead.

        "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." - President Merkin Muffley

        by Farkletoo on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:49:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yup. 2012 is nothing like 1980. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z

          The country's problems now are much, much worse now. In 1980, we had a faux-existential problem of a flat economy and conservatism looked like a cheap date. Now we've got 30 years of an actual flat economy on top of a truly existential political realignment of conservatism over liberalism.

        •  Not to mention (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z

          Reagan was quite sane compared to today's crop.  This is a man who campaigned against the homphoblic Vriggs initiative in 1978, two short years before running.  He also signed one of the most liberal abortion laws in California in 1970.  Prople didn't just buy the "he's a crazy theocon" about them.  Today's crop just doesn't have something for people to say "he's not a crazy nut, he's just posing to get the crazies in his base out."

          "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

          by TLS66 on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 08:38:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ragean was a commie hunter (2+ / 0-)

            a Mc Carthyite. Just as nuts as this batch. He was a real piece of work and senile to boot.

            •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

              but back then, the Soviet Union was indeed a superpower and even some moderates wanted someone to take a tough line.  The moderates however do not react well to theocrats trying to govern their personal lives.

              "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

              by TLS66 on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 10:08:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ragean was not a moderate (0+ / 0-)

                and this is not then.We won the 'cold war'. They went broke and the people their said fuck it your done, it didn't pay . We seem to have replaced one hysteria, the commies are gonna kill yer family, for another. neither one are real.  What moderates  are you speaking of? I see no moderation anywhere not from the Dem's or the Repubs. I see a nasty free market New World Order and totally bogus cooked up crises .  

  •  The picture is quietly priceless, I might say lol (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Trix, TofG, SwedishJewfish

    Republicans secret dream = the impeachment of Bo the Dog LOL

    by LaurenMonica on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:22:10 PM PDT

  •  Very good analysis. I'll look for your columns. (0+ / 0-)

    What jumps out at me is how unknown most of these Republicans are.  As a blogs-keteer, I'm getting Michelle Bachman rammed down my throat all the time, but half the public has no opinion about her, and she's someone you're likely to have an opinion about if you've seen her.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:25:58 PM PDT

  •  The President's approval rating has very little if (0+ / 0-)

    anything, to do with his performance. It's a reflection of how the respondents feel about their own lives.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:28:10 PM PDT

  •  I have thought this for a long time (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, jan4insight, Supavash, Matt Z

    It won't be the right, the conservatives, the republicans or the so-called tea-partiers that will cost the President his re-election.  It will be the left, the progressives and the democrats who will cost him the election.

    Too often i hear that Presdident Obama has the election already sewn up, but if we as liberals and progressives stay home or cast enough protest votes for third or fourth party candidates will there be enough to fight off a bad economy.

    Within the next few weeks the United States may for the first time in it's history default on its credit, the fault will be with the republicans for this.  But let me ask you, who does public relations better the republicans or the democrats.

    •  What we've seen (0+ / 0-)

      is that the repubs have held out, even when it was not a winning strategy for the population as a whole.  They have held out for those "tea party" demands and have ignored the populace as a whole.  And it has worked for them in as much as they have garnered governorships and taken the US House.

      The dems stratagems have not been for their "base" or even for their caucus but for their perceived constituents, i.e. if they are in a liberal district they have moved liberally and conversely, if they are in a perceived conservative district they have moved to support conservative agendas.  And national polls do not sway them as much as their perceived constituent leanings.

      Now I have heard that the conservatives are much better at pounding their reps than we are.  And it must be so.  And it must be because they have a leader in people like Rush that beat certain drums and get them to move on certain issues.  We apparently have a deficit in this area.

      It hasn't worked in the dems favor or in our favor.  Dems are viewed as weak kneed, as "flip floppers" as soft on defense  and on crime.  In truth, the dems have lacked a cohesive argument about what they have done and why.  And they have been consistently drowned out the msm.  And lacking the "talking point meme" they have tried to make nuance arguments in a world of 15 second sound bites.

      What we have lacked is a coherent strategy with coherent principles that are easily identified and defended.  The rethugs have been good at this and have worked at this consistently over that last couple of decades at least.  

      boycott Koch = don't buy Northern TP

      by glitterscale on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 08:12:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Easy: The Republicans are much better (0+ / 0-)

      at PR and getting out their message than Democrats and liberals.

  •  Intrade odds show President Obama at 57.9% (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Garrett, Supavash, Matt Z

    Chance. So yes, he is blessed by the quality of his opposition.

    Others:  Romney 34.0%, Bachman 14.1%, Perry 15.6%, Pawlenty 7.7%.  Not that I put much weight in these numbers any more than the polls at this stage of the game.

    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

    by ratcityreprobate on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:31:37 PM PDT

  •  Hopefully the GOP is wasting their time with these (0+ / 0-)

    meaningless numbers too. Tell what states you see him gaining or losing vs 2008. Everthing else is mental masturbation. Cheers

    "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room." - President Merkin Muffley

    by Farkletoo on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:33:50 PM PDT

  •  getting to know them, is to hate them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Supavash

    The teabaggers have sunk the GOP. It's also good that the rethug govenors over reached so badly. The message that the GOP can't govern is catching hold around the nation.

    Obama was delt the worst hand of any modern President but luckily for him the GOP is bent on saving his presidency.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:34:41 PM PDT

  •  yes... (0+ / 0-)

    anyone facing reelection with 9+ unemployment and this economy would get crushed--- except that he has no real opposition. Caveat: unless Mitt or Pawlenty find footing, $$, and get a pass from the teaparty types.

  •  It's July 2011. There's been one GOP "debate." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    These polls are meaningless bean-counting; I realize that that's Markos' stock-in-trade, but why can't the FP have a more activist bent?  Is this the promise DK hoped to fulfill during its first Democratic presidency?

    I look at you all; see the love there that's sleeping. - G.H.
    I really love a lot, but I fight the one's that fight me. - M.I.A.

    by hey mister on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:36:40 PM PDT

  •  If President defends Entitlements, he'll (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, mcartri, Supavash, Matt Z

    be reelected.

    If it becomes a choice between GOP Lite and GOP, then, maybe not.

    I don't believe that the median household will be better off in 2012, relative to 2008.  And that's precisely why the median household will support a candidate who promises to protect the entitlement programs.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:41:29 PM PDT

  •  No because if he had sincere people of integrity (5+ / 0-)

    to work with in the other party, we would be light years ahead of where we are now.

  •  Entering the 5th Decade of Dems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    being the unreality party of what's happening to the country, how it's working and pretty fucking much everything.

    Image Hosted by

    2012. Even better than 2010.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:43:43 PM PDT

  •  Bachmann? Her strategy seems to be pro-slavery, (6+ / 0-)

    signing that "pro family" pledge (along with Ricky S.)

    I guess it's a form of southern strategy to lock in the bigot vote (which would seem to be hers anyway).

  •  Damn, that's a weak field. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Jarman

    I mean, Governor Moonbeam? Really? I didn't even know he was still alive. Then you've got Elmer Fudd, I mean Paul Tsongas. Tom Harkin? Way too liberal. Doug Wilder? LOL.

    And then there's the Arkansas governor, Bill something (Who? Exactly!). What a joke. Anyhow, I hope Bush shows some spine in his second term. His capitulations to the liberals in Congress almost make me hope he gets primaried by a real conservative like Buchanan.

    Families is where a nation finds hope, where wings take dream.

    by cardinal on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:47:28 PM PDT

  •  All Obama has to do is to... (0+ / 0-) a moderate to large progressive legislative victory in mid-October 2012, and he wins.

  •  Just one quibble (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, Matt Z
    On Election Day, even as the Republicans were swiping everything that wasn't bolted down,

    In Cal the goopers were called out pretty forcefully and we didn't lose a seat.  I don't know if DiFi can keep it up, but I would guess she can.

    I Know a place where a Royal Flush never beat a Pair" T. Waits

    by NearlyNormal on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:51:47 PM PDT

  •  Opposition? (0+ / 0-)

    Hell, they're in the SAME party!

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 07:54:54 PM PDT

  •  America is Unfortunate (0+ / 0-)

    We are unfortunate that the prospect of a low quality GOP president is growing. I'd say, a President Bachman, Perry or Romney is now more likely than not.

    Obama has to grow a spine. If past history repeats itself, Obama will agree to one to three trillion dollars in budget cuts in exchange for a small increase in the debt limit. Obama will feel relieved to avoid default, but six months later we will be right back where we are. The GOP demanding another two trillion dollars in domestic spending cuts in exchange for another six months reprieve from govt. default.

  •  Maybe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    amk for obama, drmah

    But either way, he's clearly going to win or lose re-election from Independents.

    Progressives have given up on him and so the admin is going all-in on the Independent voters.

    •  Progessives may have (which is again (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      debatable given his 80% approval in recent NN), the dems haven't given up on him. Indies are the deciding factor, for both repubs and the dems.

      In any case, this far out, any 'analysis', jensen included, is pure bunkum.

      One bitter fact is two bit hacks populate the third rate fourth estate who are truly the fifth columnists. So, how did Obama piss you off today ?
      Call the media when they Lie

      by amk for obama on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 08:29:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unless something dramatic happens the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jethrock, mcartri

    country will take their anger out on him and elect the least crazy of the final round-up.  

    Geithner said today:

    This is still a very tough economy. For a lot of people, it's going to feel very hard — harder than anything they've experienced in a lifetime now — for some time to come.
    Ya think, Timmeh???

    There is absolutely nothing that will excite "the kids" this time around.  We will still be entrenched in wars and I heard the President was in discussions to keep troops in Iraq...indefinitely.  His focus on punishing whistleblowers and now going after medical marijuana users is absolutely insane.

    I will be amazed if he is elected again.

    "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth". Albert Einstein

    by Sydserious on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 08:08:14 PM PDT

  •  Ask Governor Corzine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 08:10:07 PM PDT

  •  Running a campaign on "I'm better than that bum" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Derfel, chrississippi

    doesn't seem like a good idea.  Positiveln namind and claiming accomplishments, being hopeful about the future and using the Bully Pulpit to the max makes more sense.

  •  Don't get lazy, though... (0+ / 0-)

    ... what were Mr. Obama's numbers like in 2007?

    (No, really - I don't know and can't seem to find out?)

  •  Here is the other point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DJ Rix

    People don't "for" candidates. They vote against candidates. The GOP has to convince people to vote AGAINST Obama. Obama has to convince people to vote AGAINST the GOP.

    Notice the subtle point that I am making here. It's not that candidates win elections because people vote "for" them,  but rather by making people reject the loser. Rarely do people ever vote for something.

    •  all those young voters (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in 2008 were very much voting for Barack Obama. Otherwise, they may not have voted at all. The President  will not duplicate his 2008 success with younger voters. Nor, with his billion dollar campaign chest filled by corporate fat cats, will he have a convincing populist or grassroots message this time around.

      "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

      by DJ Rix on Sun Jul 10, 2011 at 11:45:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. People voted FOR Obama (0+ / 0-)

        Especially blacks and kids.  People voted FOR Kennedy, and FOR Reagan ('84), and to some degree FOR GWB ('00).  They voted against Goldwater, McGovern, Carter, Dukakis, Bush I, and Kerry.  When they'll vote FOR you (Reagan '84) you ignore your opponent and run on your record (see "Morning in America").  When they won't vote FOR you, you run on your opponent's record (see "Willie Horton" and John Kerry wind-surfing).

        In 2012, Obama will have to run on his opponent's record, whoever that is - and Romney may present a distinct problem in that area.  

  •  This statement is the most telling, especially (0+ / 0-)

    comparing it to the last presidential cycle.

    "Nobody scores a net favorability of higher than +5, and it isn't solely because of a lack of name recognition (indeed, half of the field is recognized by a majority of respondents)"

    "check out the fav/unfavs for the first half of 2007 for the three leading players on the Democratic side (Obama, Clinton, and Edwards) and three leading players on the GOP side (McCain, Giuliani, and Romney):

        Rudy Giuliani (R): 54/24 (21 polls)
        Barack Obama (D): 45/20 (23 polls)
        John McCain (R): 45/27 (24 polls)
        John Edwards (D): 42/27 (21 polls)
        Hillary Clinton (D): 46/43 (24 polls)
        Mitt Romney (R): 19/19 (23 polls)".

    •  Yeah, and at this point... (0+ / 0-)

      in 1991, GHWB had an approval rating over 70%.  There is still plenty of time for something (foreign policy crisis or stock market crash) or someone (Ross Perot-type) to crash Obama down to the low 40's.  Then, with this economy, and UE, any of those characters can beat him.

  •  Authentic Mobile Phone Distributor (0+ / 0-)

    The differences are pretty stark. The 2008 fields, on both sides, had at least a couple of candidates who were both well known, and reasonably well liked. Based on this, it would seem that the characterizations of the current Republican group as uniformly weak has some merit.

  •  The competition isn't keeping him sharp (0+ / 0-)

    It is not at all to Obama's advantage that the political competition is a set of clowns.  Their deficiencies make the temptation to compete at their level, in daily poll numbers, irresistable.  That means he doesn't feel he needs to compete on the serious policy level.  That has meant he has lost sight of the need to get unemployment down.

    Now, it is possible that even had he been properly focused on jobs, there wasn't much more he could have done about that on the policy level.  Maybe the stimulus package he got passed was the largest anyone was going to get passed.  But had he had the proper focus, after getting a stimulus that qhite possibly, if not priobably, wasn't going to do the job, he would have seen his political work in terms of prepping the electorate for high unemployment persisting into 2012.  Roosevelt kept the people's trust even without succeeding at ending the Depression, because he was very focused on bringing them along with a common understanding of the magnitude of the problem.  The electorate responded by showing patience, by giving him the time that was needed.

    Instead of that, trying to keep the electorate up with an understanding of the magnitude of the situation, as a way to keep their trust and thereby survive a re-election campaign despite unemployment near 10%, Obama has focused instead on making himself look better than the clown parade the Rs have on display as their candidates for 2012.  He actually let himself be sucked into fighting against them on the ground of the deficit as the big problem facing us, confident that he could outmaneuver them onto the third rail.  That will probably work in its own terms.  But those terms are too limited.

    Obama has focused so much on that, on the short term, that by Election Day, it's looking more and more that the economy will stink so badly, with no understanding cultivated in the electorate that might prompt them to have patience, that Obama will lose to some clown.

    We should have destroyed the presidency before Obama took office. Too late now.

    by gtomkins on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 08:15:39 AM PDT

  •  That Americans are giving serious consideration... (0+ / 0-)  these asshat Republicans, who 3 years ago so completely screwed the pooch, means we are totally and absolutely doomed.

    Third world here we come! Yippeeee!!!

    "Always remember this: They fight with money and we resist with time, and they’re going to run out of money before we run out of time." -Utah Philips

    by TerryDarc on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 09:12:54 AM PDT

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