Obama may want to look at this….

Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 18:26 EST –  Salon website
New poll shows Obama losing to unnamed challenger in 2012, but outlook may not be quite as bleak as it seems
By Emily Holleman
Depending on what side of the aisle you’re on, you may have woken up to some dispiriting – or validating – news this morning: A  National Journal poll in which 50 percent of respondents said they’d vote for “someone else” other than President Obama if the presidential election of 2012 were held today. Just 39 percent of those polled said they would “probably” or “definitely” vote to reelect the president.

The results broke fairly predictably along party lines with 86 percent of Republicans saying they would vote for someone else and 77 percent of Democrats reporting they’d vote to keep Obama in office. Among independents, the story’s a bit more troubling for Obama — just 33 percent in that group said they would vote to reelect him, while 54 percent said they’d opt for the alternative to-be-named.

Now, this clearly isn’t great news for the Obama camp, but the outcome isn’t nearly as damning as it appears at first glance.

The results may have been as dim as they are in large part because the question pitted Obama against an unnamed opponent from an unspecified party. Although pollsters often use this type of generic question, it tends to yield the worst imaginable outcome for incumbents, since respondents are free to picture the anonymous opponent any way they like.

“It’s going to tend to be a worst case scenario, because it allows you to imagine whoever you want,” Pollster.com’s Mark Blumenthal says. “If you’re an unhappy progressive, you may be imagining a primary challenger, even though you might be voting for a Democrat in a general election. If you’re a Republican, you may be thinking of your ideal candidate. It may be different if the Republican candidate is Sarah Palin or someone else you’re less happy with.”

Paul Maslin, who’s worked as a pollster for the presidential campaigns of Howard Dean and Bill Richardson (and has previously written for Salon), concurs. The results are based on “a theoretical judgment made by an electorate … in the absence of any real opposition,” Maslin says.

“The Republican party, if they’re honest with themselves — even if they’re crowing about how well they’re going to do in the midterm elections — has to realize that their brand has been shattered in the past several years and I don’t think they’re doing much to recover other than saying ‘We don’t believe in government.’ Ultimately, they’re going to have to offer something affirmative.”

Besides, the presidential election’s still nearly three years away, so it’s hard to draw any real conclusions about Obama’s chances then based on the political climate right now.

“All the poll tells us is something we know already,” Maslin says. “The country’s still in a sour mood, so they’re going to withhold judgment – as they probably should – on a president who’s only one fourth into his first term


Filed under Democratic Party, Elections, Obama, Polls, President Barack Obama, Republicans

3 responses to “Obama may want to look at this….

  1. lillacluvr

    Polls like this are frustrating to me because how can anyone say they would vote for another candidate without knowing who that person will be?

    But, it does show the mood of the country – cynicism, pessimism, frustration, disappointment and resentment of the current political scene.

    But is all this sourness really to be laid at Obama’s front door or does that sourness deserve to be shared with other Democrats and the Party of NO?

  2. tosmarttobegop

    It is a tradition in this country, we are very moody voters.
    Seldom if every do we use logic or reason to make the decision as to who to vote for.
    Cherry picking what we think is important about a candidate’s record and evaluating their performance.

    Most times it is simply where we like something about them or not.

    Such things as this poll truly would influence President Obama depending on his aspirations.
    The kind of person he is, whether he is a typical Politician or sees he has an opportunity to do something more important for the country then simply a second term.

    Kind of like if the choice is between a cure for cancer or a second term for a Democratic President?
    I can not get in Obama’s head so I do not know or really could guess which he would choose.

    On the face of it, there is and he has said. That getting health care reform is more important to him then a second term.

    I will admit that if that was his goal that it would have been better then what I am seeing.

    • Monkeyhawk

      I got to thinking about Tatum O’Neal’s performance in “Paper Moon.” Nostalgia and hindsight make some of us think FDR wasn’t a politician and never faced opposition.

      I grew up in what was probably the most rock-ribbed Republican county in Kansas. (It’s slowly changing.) When I was a kid… well into the 50s and early 60s there were friends of my parents who refused to even mention Roosevelt’s name. It was “That Man.”

      When I was in college I ate lunch a few times with Alf Landon (and others). He liked sitting next to me ’cause he could always bum a cigarette from me.

      Once he said, “Everyone I talked to told me I was going to win.”

      Of course FDR didn’t have to face the Rupert Murdoch noise machine. But CONs seem to be so masturbatory.