In a nutshell:
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.Obama is facing 9.1% unemployment after promising jobs, jobs, jobs. That unemployment number was supposed to be down, down, down. It's not.
Remember Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign and the slogan coined by his advisor James Carville, "It's the economy, stupid"? Is 2012 going to be 1992 all over again? Clinton and team hammered at President George H.W. Bush, who was considered unbeatable with a 90% approval rating after Operation Desert Storm ... but with Clinton and Carville pounding the same economic drum over and over throughout the campaign, Clinton won.
A year ago Obama ballyhooed that the economy was "growing at a good clip." Not so much, it turned out. He finally admitted it a week ago as he joked, "Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected."
Obama's woes include a steady decline of independent supporters as well as his own base, as pointed out by Rove:
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.Housing hasn't bounced back, gasoline prices remain high, some businesses have closed while others are limping along hoping to outlast the economic downturn, and yet others' plans for new openings have been delayed or altogether scrapped.
Thanks in part to Obama's "Cash-for-Clunkers" program two years ago, the used car market is ruined. The "environmental" desire by Obama was to remove less energy efficient vehicles off the roadways by offering vouchers for new purchases with instructions that the old vehicles had to be destroyed. Thus, prices in the used car market are high because of shortages and, therefore, pricing people who cannot afford new vehicles out of pre-owned vehicles.
Combine those with unpopular policies such as ObamaCare, government bailouts, recess appointments, a spiraling-out-of-control national debt, and other failures or disappointments, and you have a popularity rating that is continually dropping for this president. Rove noted, "In Wednesday's Bloomberg poll, Americans believe they are worse off than when Mr. Obama took office by a 44% to 34% margin."
History is usually on the side of the incumbent. Usually. Will 2012 be the exception?
Cross-posted at Bearing Drift