The President’s team has struggled to find an attack theme that sticks. The debate over contraception did not stick, the attacks on Bain Capital are not sticking. 58% of those polled believe that the wealthy are paying their fair share of taxes resulting in, ‘Tax the Rich’ simply not gaining credibility with a majority of Americans who identify a “fair” tax rate for the rich as 30%. 53% of Americans believe that tax cuts help the economy. 63% disfavor help for mortgage holders who can’t afford their payments. Most critically, Americans by more than 2 to 1 (46% – 20%) identify themselves as ‘economic Conservatives’.
While the President’s personal popularity numbers are still okay, they are disconnected from his ratings on policy issues. Overall, despite the fact that the Romney campaign against the President is in its early stages, 48% say they agree with Romney policy positions, 46% agree with the President. 55% support repeal of ObamaCare. 24% say the country is on the right track; 38% say that they are in good economic shape. Issue critical disconnects will, eventually, result in a downward trend related to personal popularity. Additional evidence is found in the strongly approve / strongly disapprove polling; the trend has been consistent over time, mid 20’s strongly approve of the President, low 40’s strongly disapprove.
The President’s base has policy issues with the President. The attack on private equity is symptomatic of tensions within the Democratic Party elite. Significant portions of the traditional Democratic base do not agree with the President’s stand on Gay marriage. The fight with the Catholic Church over religious freedom created a schism. The real juice rests with long standing Democratic Party insiders who believe the President has and will take the Party too far to the left and over a cliff. Their fear is that a second Obama term will result in sending the Democratic Party into the political wilderness for a very long time. Insiders recognize that the far left is in control of the White House and know from experience that crossing the leftist red line results in major electoral blowback. They are prepared to sacrifice Obama for the future of the party! The current flurry of ‘inside’ leaks is only the tip of the political iceberg.
While the traditional main stream media maintains their position of willful blindness, the vetting that did not occur four years ago is occurring now, relentlessly, and outside of traditional media. That effort combined with the President’s resolve to keep portions of his background hidden will resonate with voters in the middle of the political spectrum. A ‘what’s he got to hide’ perception could be a powerful negative for the President. Additionally, should the main stream media begin to believe that what is left of their credibility is in jeopardy to their refusal to hold the President to account the tide against the President could rise quickly. The President’s key staff is also being vetted and the flow of information about their past associations, political attitudes and performance in the White House will demonstrate that that the President, based on his close associations, is not a moderate by any reasonable definition as well as bringing his judgment into question.
Too many mistakes, the President’s support team has a serious problem with doing and saying the right thing at the right time. The latest amateurish statement is ‘Polish Death Camps’ instead of Nazi Death. Camps in Poland. The attacks on Bain find a key Presidential supporter as a member of Bain. The President on Tuesday claimed he knew more about Judaism than any other President because “he read about it’, notwithstanding 20 years of bile from Reverend Wright directed at Jews.
Facts in dispute; 8.1% unemployment is, in reality, 14.5% when you consider those who have stopped looking for work, but want work. The Presidents claim that he has cut spending is based upon an analysis that considers the first eight months of his term as Bush spending, including the stimulus. That manner of factual disconnect will reflect poorly on the President and will be difficult to defend especially in the context of the energy with which the faulty analysis was embraced by surrogates in advance of a fact check.
Regulation nation has arrived, the American political and cultural DNA will eventually rear up and say STOP, enough already!
The President has taken too many sides on too many issues, tailored for too many constituencies. His own words, priorities and promises will be the single most effective tool against him in this election: The Gitmo closing, the failed Chicago Olympic bid, Green energy failures, the Gulf Oil spill, delegation of Presidential authority to Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi, the failure to focus on the economy first as opposed to Health Care, the attempt to shut down the coal industry, failed debt negotiations, spiraling national debt, EPA governance, zero support (97-0) for his latest budget and the many attacks on private enterprise of all types. These are issues of concern and points of criticism incoming from……………..Democrats; from Rahm Emanuel to James Carville to William Daley to Bill Clinton to the entirety of the Senate. Black and Latino approval of the President is sliding; approval among blacks has plummeted to 84% from the high 90’s. The Gay marriage issue is likely to have the same impact on highly religious and mostly Catholic Latino voters.
The President is overexposed and has been for a very long time, exposure may boost his ego but it has worn out many. Despite what the truth of it may be, we are left with the perception that the President has something to say about nearly everything, nearly every day. The overexposure is evidenced by the difference from the 2009 State of the Union Address to the 2012 State of The Union. Viewership was down by nearly 15 million viewers, that’s a fair amount of tune out, nearly 30%. The campaign will also offer us Presidential views; daily!
Romance, as it often does, fades, this is not 2008. No longer have we a blank slate upon which to cast aspirations and desire. Romance has faded to the reality of performance and day to day life. It will be a supreme challenge for the President to design rhetoric capable of overwhelming the record and address valid points of criticism.