Obama at 53% Means Nothing for ‘12
by Taylor Marsh
Pollsters on “Daily Rundown” today said that it will take another poll to know whether Pres. Obama’s 53% is going to stick. If you’re looking to 2012, I’d caution everyone to understand the NBC/WSJ poll means nothing. The President and his team have real challenges going forward, because the midterms turned states upside down and will make the electoral map Obama Inc. is facing much rougher than ‘08. There’s a reason he’s headed to Wisconsin next week after the SOTU and it’s not happenstance.
Obama’s conservative instincts to win back Independents and the “broader middle” as it’s called is what drove him to make the short-sided tax cut deal in December. With Bill Daley on board and Obama already signaling to Wall Street about “dumb” regulations, the President’s move to the Right seems set to continue, though it’s a mistake, because the path to solidifying his 53% lies elsewhere.
From an Elective Eve survey:
The other numbers in that poll show the backing any politician gets from voters when talking about “strengthening” Social Security, instead of following the Republicans’ austerity path.
Obama made the mistake by not fighting against the upper 2% Bush tax cuts in December as well, because the American public was behind him on that, too, same with the public option. So Democrats should be worried whether the White House even senses or cares about these signals.
With Bill Daley the Obama bubble will only increase, because to Obama Inc. what they want is a second term and it seems clear they’re willing to sacrifice Democratic principles as an ode to the Right to get it. This is not surprising, but it is the reason a lukewarm base should be guarded against at all costs, because the White House can’t depend on Sarah Palin to be the only thing that revs them up.
From RJ Eskow over at Campaign for America’s Future:
The President and the party still have some very strong relationships: suburban voters, unmarried women, and African Americans are still very solid. And the President’s negatives have dropped sharply since the election. But two core constituencies, the young and union members, are crumbling.
The picture’s even bleaker among key groups of swing voters. Congressional Democrats are trailing by 23 points among white non-college voters, and Obama’s losing them to Sarah Palin by 22 points (and to Romney by 21). Obama’s losing white seniors to Palin by 8 points, to Romney by 25 points, and other Democrats are losing them by 16 points. Congressional Democrats are losing rural non-South white voters by 31 points, and Obama trails both Palin and Romney (losing to Romney by 26 points).
Obama’s bump in the NBC/WSJ poll should not be misinterpreted, thinking that moving Right is the reason he rebounded. His compassion after the Tucson domestic terrorism tragedy, coupled with good post Christmas good feelings that come with the New Year, both buoyed Obama. This was confirmed today by the pollsters on “Daily Rundown.”
If the Democrats buy into the Right’s austerity push it will further erode the differences between the two parties, which Pres. Obama already represents. From RJ Eskow:
Should Social Security benefits be cut? White seniors said no, by 48% to 36%, and the “don’t cut” voters felt much more strongly about their position. White non-college voters said “don’t cut” by 55% to 35%. Voters in districts that turned Republican in 2010 opposed cuts by 57% to 34%. Even suburban voters were oppo(s)ed, 60%-34%.
The voters were strongly in favor (57 percent) of “a plan to invest in new industries and rebuild the country over the next five years.” By contrast, only 52 percent approved of “a plan to dramatically reduce the deficit over the next five years,” and with less intensity of support than expressed by those who wanted investment.
Other ideas sound good to voters until they’re told what’s involved: They liked the idea of adopting the recommendations of a “bipartisan deficit commission,” supporting it 56% to 19%. But when they were told what the recommendations were, they opposed them by 54% to 34%. 55% were opposed to raising the retirement age and 57% were opposed to reducing benefits for people now entering the workforce.
Would this be a “move to the middle”? 52% of independents and 55% of Republicans oppose raising the retirement age. People under 50 oppose it by a 22-point margin, women oppose it by a 19-point margin, suburbanites oppose it by a 14-point margin, and people in districts the GOP picked up last year opposed it by 14 points. For other benefit cuts the opposition was even greater. The margins were 25 for under-50’s, 27 points for women, 26 points for suburban voters, and 23 points in GOP pick-up districts.
So why are we still talking about this?
People still think the country is going in the wrong direction. There’s a reason. Republicans aren’t listening to the people on health care, and President Obama seems to be following them on austerity.
With both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee showing strong initial signs of strength for ‘12, both men having a sunny side that gets people elected, Obama following the Right is the wrong way to go. He needs to stand apart from Republicans in strengthening a foundational tenet of the Democratic Party, not work to carve it away on the notion it’s somehow practical when it’s actually political suicide.
Besides, if Pres. Obama gets a second term, with a Republican Congress, something that is very possible, he can do whatever he wants, which I believe is making “practical” changes to Social Security so he can be touted as the one who “saved” it.
Taylor Marsh is a political analyst, writer and commentator on national politics. A veteran national politics writer, Taylor’s been writing on the web since 1996. She has reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This is cross posted from her blog.