We couldn’t agree more with Mr. Rove, but 17 months is still a long way out and we are looking at an extremely close election. We certainly hope Mr. Rove is correct, but President Obama’s likeability among a broad swath of voters could be the X-factor.
President Barack Obama is likely to be defeated in 2012. The reason is that he faces four serious threats. The economy is very weak and unlikely to experience a robust recovery by Election Day. Key voter groups have soured on him. He’s defending unpopular policies. And he’s made bad strategic decisions.
Mr. Obama also has problems with his base. For example, Jewish voters are upset with his policy toward Israel, and left-wing bloggers at last week’s NetRoots conference were angry over Mr. Obama’s failure to deliver a leftist utopia. Weak Jewish support could significantly narrow Mr. Obama’s margin in states like Florida, while a disappointed left could deprive him of the volunteers so critical to his success in 2008.
Mr. Obama’s standing has declined among other, larger groups. Gallup reported his job approval rating Tuesday at 45%, down from 67% at his inaugural. Among the groups showing a larger-than-average decline since 2009 are whites (down 25 points); older voters (down 24); independents and college graduates (both down 23), those with a high-school education or less, men, and Southerners (all down 22); women (down 21 points); married couples and those making $2,000-$4,000 a month (down 20). This all points to severe trouble in suburbs and midsized cities in states likes Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada.
There’s more. Approval among younger voters has dropped 22 points, and it’s dropped 20 points among Latinos. Even African-American voters are less excited about Mr. Obama than they wereâand than he needs them to be. For example, if their share of the turnout drops just one point in North Carolina, Mr. Obama’s 2008 winning margin there is wiped out two and a half times over.