It’s still the economy stupid

On November 5th 2008, Obama had a 7.6 point lead in the RCP average.  Today, he has a .4 point lead, yet is losing Independents by double digits.  In 2008, Obama was at 52% and ended with 53%.  Today, he is below 48%.  In 2008, Obama turned Florida and North Carolina into battleground states.  Today, the final campaign is being played out in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

Things that don’t normally get a President re-elected:

• The country is stuck in a recession which Obama has made worse.  After four years, he has no plan to remedy matters.

• Foreign policy, arguably less understandable to voters, is disintegrating in front of their eyes.  Benghazi is exploding all over Obama and is something he is unable to blame on someone else.

• More people are on food stamps and welfare than ever before.  People sense that Obama is not displeased with this condition.

• Incomes are falling, and unemployment is not.  College graduates cannot get jobs commensurate with their education.  Despair is everywhere.

• Net worth is falling, and prices are rising.  People’s standard of living has declined for four straight years.

• Retirement is no longer an option for large segments of the population.

According to an analysis by Poynter, Romney has bagged a total of 24 swing-state newspaper endorsements, to Obama’s 15. Across the country, at least 30 newspapers also flipped from backing Obama in 2008 to backing Romney this year.

We start with a bad economy (unemployment higher than when Barack Obama took office; household net worth down hugely, the dollar terribly devalued, etcetera). We add the fact that 55 percent of those polled by the Washington Post say the country is “on the wrong track” (vs. 43 percent on the “right track”), and that by a 50-46 margin, voters think Romney can do a better job with the economy than Obama can. (The sample size is a reasonable Democrat +3 — one that probably understates what the actual Republican turnout will be, but not by as much as many other polls.) These are not numbers that re-elect a president, nor ones that re-elect a Democratic Senate in a year in which Democrats are defending more seats, and more vulnerable seats, than Republicans are. They are especially not numbers that re-elect a president when tremendous intensity is on the side against him, while many of his own supporters remain somewhat disenchanted or dejected. Moreover, Romney also leads by a couple of points in the Real Clear Politics average of “net favorable” ratings, and leads by a huge margin in Rasmussen’s crucial “intensity of favorable/unfavorable” ratings when compared to Obama. Anecdotal reports from Ohio, Virginia, and especially Wisconsin and Pennsylvania agree that enthusiasm is strongly on Romney’s side. The Republican “ground game” is light years better than it was in 2008
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