The GOP’s theme for its 2012 campaign season is unsurprisingly “the economy stupid.” Bill Clinton won election in 1992 on this theme even though the economy was actually in recovery and growing smartly. The eventual GOP challenger to President Obama has the advantage of observing that the Obama economy is the first post WWII “recovery” with no real economic recovery.
In the following video, Senator Jim DeMint gives a good summary of what you will be hearing from GOP candidates for the presidency and all the Dem senate seats up for election in 2012. You can see the Joint Economic Committee report which is the source of Demint’s data here.
Demint offers a rather sober assessment. Imagine instead if GOP candidates use this awful economic data in a populist campaign message with large helpings of red meat to our millions of un and under-empoyed and their families.
GOP candidates should not need to work to hard to convince voters that President Obama’s economic policies have either been enormously expensive failures in bringing about economic recovery or actually made things worse. The latest Marist polling finds that registered voters disapprove of the President’s job handling the economy by a 2:1 margin, the worst assessment in this particular poll’s history:
By a nearly identical margin, registered voters think that the country is heading in the wrong direction:
When you look at the Marist crosstabs, 91% of GOP, 60% of Indi and even 31% of Dems disapprove of the President’s handling of the economy.
Dem pollster Stanley Greenberg has been testing the Obama reelection messages concerning the economy with focus groups and is providing very disturbing news to the Obama campaign. Time magazine’s Swampland blog reports:
“No one is going to give you much credit for what you have done for this recovery,” says Greenberg, who has been testing messages in focus groups and polls for Democrats to use in the coming election. “Saying the economy is starting to make progress is bad.”…
As it now stands, the President’s stump speech features a backward-looking message at its core. Obama trumpets “more than 2 million jobs in the private sector” that have been created in the last 15 months. At a recent speech in Ohio he dismissed May’s bad jobs numbers as “bumps on the road to recovery.” In Greenberg’s estimation, this is an error on par with President Obama’s midterm election pitch, which described the nation as a car that had just gotten out of a ditch that Republicans drove into in the first place. The metaphor didn’t work, Greenberg explained in a recent memo, because “people thought they were still in the ditch.”…
When Greenberg tested messages trumpeting the recent rebound, or blaming the economy on Republican mismanagement before 2008, the results were dismal, he says. Voters did not want to hear it.
Not only do voters not want to hear Obama’s false claims that the economy is in recovery and Bush is to blame for the recovery not being faster, the Marist poll suggests a strong plurality of registered voters (43% to 36%) have already decided to vote against Barack Obama a full year and a half out from the election. The polling cross tabs suggest how deep a hole the Obama reelection effort is with the voters:
The Obama coalition has fallen apart. Indis plan to vote against Obama by a 43% to 29% margin and even 10% of Dem voters plan to vote against their party’s President.
26% of nonwhite voters plan to vote against Obama. Given the nearly complete African American support for Obama, this means Hispanics are deserting Obama in droves.
No modern Dem presidential candiate has won election without a substantial plurality of the female vote. Women are evenly divided and plan to vote against Obama by a 41% to 40% margin.
From an electoral college perspective, no modern presidential candidate has won election without a majority of the midwest electoral votes. Registered voters in the midwest plan to vote against Obama by a 46% to 35% margin. If this margin holds and the undecided break along similar lines, it is hard to see Obama winning a Midwest state outside of his home state of Illinois, and that could be close.
After seeing these figures and focus group reaction to the Dem message, pollster Stanley Greenberg is suggesting that the President abandon any defense of his economic record and try to change the subject.
Good luck with that strategy.
UPDATE ONE: The Wall Street Journal offers a similar comparison between the Obama “recovery” and past post-WWII recessions in the chart below: