A competitive race is in store this election season.
Americans have grown weary of the flailing Obama economy. So potent is the public’s displeasure, so deep the rejection of his failed policies, Obama’s support is fast eroding, notably among key constituencies he will need for 2012.
With the poll surge from Bin Laden’s death all but gone, and perpetually poor economic data to boot, even an unnamed Republican opponent defeats the president in two of three surveys released this month.
For a GOP field that is routinely derided as weak and unexciting—a leftist narrative—these polls, if anything, remind us that Americans are looking for a competent alterative, and that the race will be competitive.
A Republican candidate who offers a fiscally sound, pro-growth, jobs-centric agenda will provide a sharp contrast to this White House. With a clear articulation of substantive ideas, conservatives should press their case.
The president’s job approval, once as high as 76%, continues to trend downward. It stands now at 47.7%. Significantly, Obama is losing ground among Hispanics, a key group he carried overwhelmingly in 2008. And, among women, an AP poll found that only 48% believe he deserves re-election, a drop of nearly 10 points from AP’s polling just last month.
Moreover, independent voters are abandoning Obama in droves. This vital voting bloc has long since lost faith in the president’s chosen course heading, one that will transform our nation into a ghost ship of centralization.
A recent Bloomberg National Poll clearly reflects this precipitous drop in Independent support. Less than one-fourth, only 23%, said they would vote for Obama in 2012. The same poll found that just 30% of all voters were “certain” to support his re-election; 66% said the country was on the wrong track.
An unconscionable lack of presidential leadership, bad policy, ballooning debt and a sputtering economy, best explains such widespread pessimism. For many, America is fast becoming a nation unrecognizable.
Indeed, nearly 60% of Americans currently disapprove of this administration’s handling of the economy. More specifically, on jobs, the national debt and the federal deficit, voter reproach is rising. These three key issues register above, or near, 60% disapproval. Moreover, 80% of voters say “the economy is in poor shape.” An unhealthy condition that is intolerable.
Despite these numbers, Americans have yet to see the president take a more active role, most recently in the debt limit negotiations that have now stalled. Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) says Obama doesn’t have the “time” to go these meetings. But now, he has no choice. In fact, negotiations for a final debt deal have already forced Obama into the fray. Voters, however, are skeptical about just what impact that will have on reducing debt.
62% believe that the spending cuts agreed upon will be insufficient. Their cynicism, of course, is warranted. The profligate spending continues apace, while Democrats blame President Bush for the current debt crisis. But does anyone think the voters will buy the left’s deflection of responsibility using Bush as a scapegoat, a bogeyman?
Our national debt is up 35% since Obama took office and Democrats have been the loudest cheerleaders for deficit spending. And this, the public knows.
Congressman Clyburn, you may recall, once remarked that America had to spend its way out of recession—Keynesian hogwash that fiscally conscious Americans reject. The rising debt accumulated under this misguided scheme has weighed down what our economy needs most: job growth.
It’s not surprising, then, that for those whom job creation is a key concern, Bloomberg found Republicans with a sizable 12 point advantage in "voter intensity." As the jobs picture grows evermore perilous and our economic outlook, grim, the "intensity" gap should widen further, and with it, calls for a new direction.
Note: 86% of voters are very concerned about unemployment, a level not seen since before the November 2010 elections.
Incidentally, it is worth mentioning that administration loyalists will read these polls as mere snapshots, with the presidential race still more than a year away. This is wishful thinking. Voters have roundly rendered their dissatisfaction…consistently, and for some time. The White House has no one to blame but itself.
The president does not have a cogent message on the economy, if he ever did, and our position abroad erodes further without a definable foreign policy. As one of his advisers famously put it, Obama is right at home “leading from behind.”
With unpopular policies and few results, even his signature "accomplishment," ObamaCare, is loathed. Most Americans want to be rid of it. The most recent poll shows that 55% of Americans favor repeal of this monstrosity. Only 17% believe that it will improve the “quality of care” in the U.S.—a new low.
For the left-minded, our nation’s sick economic condition is cause for deep political unease. They ought to be worried. As Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently conceded, liberals know that Obama’s economic policies “will be held accountable” by voters.
Convincing the public that conditions are improving—when most know they are not—will be a steep challenge. Make ready the teleprompter.
Brendon S. Peck holds a Master of Arts in History and Political science from the College of Saint Rose and has completed graduate work at Columbia University. He is a freelance writer. Reach him at [email protected].