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HOUSE OF THE WEEK

Monday, 10 September 2012

Outlook Is Bleak For America And Both Presidential Candidates


With both major-party conventions over, now we know who’s going to win the presidential election in about eight weeks.
Nobody.
OK, that’s obviously not true. But if you look at the figures on unemployment and the percentage of Americans who think the country is on the wrong track, President Barack Obama needs to beat historic odds to win with such low numbers.
And if you look at the poor favorability rating and lackluster convention performance of Mitt Romney, there’s seemingly no way, from a historical perspective, he can win, either.
Those factors don’t even take into account the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to make each candidate look bad.
Bottom line: One of them is going to get up off the mat to make history this year.
But who?
“In terms of looking for clear indications of who’s going to win, there aren’t any. It’s close,” said Frank Newport, editor in chief of the Gallup Poll.
Generally speaking, he said, Obama is better off than Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were at this stage of the campaign, when both were on their way to losing re-election attempts. But Obama is worse off than Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton on their glide paths to second terms.
“I think it’s clear that our historical data shows Obama’s been right on the cusp,” Newport said.
The only comparable election in recent U.S. history where the forecast was so muddled was 2004, when George W. Bush’s numbers also were on the bubble.
Meanwhile, Romney actually got a negative bounce from the convention, Gallup found, and his acceptance speech received the lowest rating since Bob Dole’s in 1996; just 38 percent rated the speech as “excellent” or “good.”
Gallup also found that nearly 1 in 5 Americans — including 10 percent of Republicans — say they would not support a well-qualified Mormon for president. That figure is virtually identical with the one Romney’s father, George, faced when running for president in 1967.
However, in Gallup’s June survey, a third of Republicans — and more than 4 in 10 Americans — could not correctly identify Mitt Romney’s religion. Gallup’s analysis said that finding indicates that, if more voters do become aware of his beliefs, he could lose even more support over it.
It appears that Obama is getting a bigger convention bounce than Romney; although the weekly average of the Democrat’s approval rating sits at 44 percent, the daily rating has jumped to 52 percent, his highest of the past year with Gallup.
Still, Newport wants to wait before making any grand proclamations about the race.
“Next week, after the dust settles, if one or the other person is ahead, then they will have a leg up,” he said.
If not, Newport added, the debates in October are the next major opportunity to move numbers.
A key Romney supporter forecasts that we will see just such a movement toward the Massachusetts governor next month.
“I think the real historical analogy in this campaign is the 1980 election,” said Ari Fleischer, who was press secretary for the second President Bush. “You really get the sense that voters are measuring an incumbent and have already come to the conclusion that the incumbent has failed the country. They’re waiting to pass the final judgment on the challenger.
“My belief is that, just like in 1980, in October, you’re going to see a Mitt Romney breakthrough, and that Mitt Romney’s going to win by a comfortable margin actually.”
But Obama campaign spokesperson Frank Benenati said that, despite the negative indicators, the president is ready to make history again.
“From the outset, we said this would be a close election due to the historical challenges faced by the president when walking into the Oval Office,” Benenati said.
“Ohioans will have to decide which vision they prefer, and while we aren’t where we want to be yet, they see how the turnaround in the Buckeye State serves as an example of how the president’s policies are the right path — like saving the auto industry and the 1 in 8 Ohio jobs it supports, investing in manufacturing and cutting taxes for the middle class and small businesses.”
Of course, some history is guaranteed this year: Americans will either elect the first Mormon president or re-elect a black president for the first time.

EXPLORE:    World News         Romney         Ann Romney          Paul Ryan        Obama        
 Obama's Remarks          White House           Medicare             U.S      Religion               CBO         Voters Undecided        Clint Eastwood          Bill Clinton



Edited By Cen Fox Post Team
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