Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The history and numbers behind Obama's confidence in re-election

With the grief that the President of the United States is taking over ordering military operations in Libya while he was kicking soccer balls in South America and the American economy continuing to struggle, one would think that the Obama folks would be very worried about 2012 and re-election.  Instead, the Obama team is confident from reports VUI is getting and that confidence was illustrated when President Obama accepted an invitation to attend the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil as if he will be President of the United States then.  That smacked VUI as confidence that President Obama and his folks believe he will be in the last year of second term and still President of the United States.  We were all set to deride that confidence, until we looked at the numbers.

While President Obama’s latest Real Clear Politics merge of polling data has his approval at 47.8%, that number is higher than Ronald Reagan’s in the spring of 1983 and Bill Clinton’s in the spring of 1995.  Further, the GOP challengers are late getting into the race.  Less than a year away from the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, no Republican has officially declared a candidacy for President.  Thus, the GOP candidates will be fighting it out while President Obama does “Presidential” things a year from now.

Among the Republicans that are potential candidates, President Obama matches up well so far.  Again, citing Real Clear Politics, Mitt Romney is today the strongest potential candidate and President Obama leads him 47.7 % to 42.6%.  Obama leads all the others by larger margins and the others candidates are in the thirties, with Ron Paul being the strongest among the rest of the field.

If Romney gets through the GOP primaries and secures the nomination, he still has a historically uphill Electoral College fight.  Romney is from New England, and no Republican from New England has won states like North Carolina and Virginia that are essential to any electoral math for a Republican.  (Yes, both Bushs had New England ties, but both claimed to have ran from Texas.)

Obama now runs 45% to 43% against a generic GOP candidate, so victory is possible.  But, to win, the GOP nominee must beat Obama in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Ohio and Michigan.   That gives the GOP nominee the quickest route to 270 electoral votes and the Presidency.  Right now, Obama is approved more than disapproved in Florida and Michigan.

Conservatives do not want to read such numbers.  But, reality is reality.  And, the reality is President Obama is a lot stronger of a candidate for re-election than it seems.  What the GOP needs in 2011 is what it had in 1979, a game changing candidate like Ronald Reagan waiting in the wings.  The GOP needs someone optimistic about America, with a great story, charisma and the ability to show that bloated government does work and that Republicans want government and the free market to work for all Americans.  As it stands, there is no Ronald Reagan on the scene, and that is probably why President Obama thinks he will be around for a second term.  

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