Friday, December 17, 2010

Early Signs for Obama '12 Are (Mildly) Positive

It was a rough cycle in 2010, but the odds seem favorable for Obama in 2012, based on some early polling -- including some figures that frankly surprised me.

One the perils of being a liberal is that we always seem to think we're isolated from the American people. It's not a crisis of principle -- we think we're right, of course -- we just tend to think of ourselves as members of a small, enlightened minority. It's a theme hammered in relentlessly by the media ("Liberal coastal latte-sipping elites can't connect with real Americans!"), and trap I fall into myself, sometimes.

So while I like President Obama quite a bit, after months of coverage wherein Obama was persistently referred to as an out-of-touch, distant, elitist, socialist, Marxist, fascist, pick-your-favorite-ist, enemy of America -- I figured that most Americans didn't really like Obama much anymore, personally or professionally.

But that's only half true. Obama's job approvals have been hovering in the mid-40s for months. But his personal approvals are still sky-high -- 72%. Of course, Republicans still loathe him, and being personally-liked doesn't secure re-election by any means (folks could think he's a decent-enough guy who's in over his head). But it's a far more resilient number than I would have expected.

And it seems to be bearing out when you do some early head-to-heads. Put Obama against Mitt Romney -- a generic "known" Republican, and he's up 47-40. Not fabulous to be under 50%, but still a decent spread. Obama versus a generic unknown Republican -- played helpfully by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) -- and you get Obama ahead by 47-27.

So the baseline right now seems to be that at least 47% of the country would vote for Obama right now against your typical Republican. But what about against the Ice Queen herself, Sarah Palin? Once again, my fear of being out-of-touch rears its head -- sure, I detest the former half-term Governor, but is that just me?

Looks like it's not. Obama trounces Palin, 55-33. That's a rather massive leap. Republicans may be enamored with their last VP nominee, but the country can't stand her. And she manages to give Obama an 8 point bump above his baseline score.

1 comment:

joe said...

There is a dichotomy. Plenty of liberals also fall into an opposite trap... namely that the vast majority is on their side, and it's those damn compromisers (Bill Clinton, Harry Reid, now Barack Obama) who are always throwing away a huge populist victory. These are the folks who are mad at Obama over health care, tax cuts, what-have-you.

What they tend to fail to take into account is that the voting public is low-information, or cares in the abstract but doesn't actually care very much. The fact that a number of their pet issues may poll well in the abstract doesn't mean very much at all.