April 14, 2012
Election Will Be All About Obama
Any doubt that Mitt Romney would win the Republican nomination vanished when Rick Santorum left the race. It also marked the end of Romney’s time as the defining figure in the overall contest for the White House.
The GOP nomination process was seen by many as a competition between Romney and an entertaining cast of I’m Not Mitt challengers. Questions were raised about Romney’s perceived weaknesses and whether he could win over the hearts and votes of conservatives. But now President Barack Obama moves to center stage and becomes the defining figure of the general election campaign. Now it’s about Obama, not Romney, as the election becomes primarily a referendum on his first term.
The most important indicator of the president’s prospects will be his job-approval rating. That rating will be very close to his share of the vote on Election Day. In 2004, President George W. Bush had a 51 percent job approval rating and won 51 percent of the vote.
Obama’s ratings suggest we are heading for a potentially very close race. For the past 32 months, the full month approval ratings for the president have been remarkably stable, holding to a very narrow range of 44 percent to 49 percent. People seem to have formed an opinion of the president, and nothing can change their minds. Those who oppose the president tend to feel more strongly about it than those who support him.
For most of the past three years, the president’s ratings have stayed in an even narrower band of 46 percent to 48 percent. Those numbers suggest Obama would earn just under 50 percent of the vote on Election Day. If the president can win over a few more voters and move those numbers up a bit in the coming months, he is very likely to keep his job. If the president’s ratings falter, Romney is likely to be moving into the White House next January.
Economic concerns dominate the voters’ agenda, and here the numbers for the president are more troubling.
Some 49 percent of the voters trust Romney more than Obama when it comes to the economy. Just 39 percent trust Obama more.
Middle-income voters are especially likely to have more confidence in Romney. Obama does best among those who earn less than $20,000 a year and those who earn more than $100,000 annually. Especially troubling for the White House is the fact that 20 percent of Democrats trust Romney more than Obama on this core issue.
On other issues, however, Romney and Obama are essentially even. This includes health care, taxes, national security and energy.
Still, in a year when economic concerns trump all other issues, these numbers represent a good starting point for Romney. But if the economy improves between now and then, confidence in the president’s economic policies — and his job approval ratings — are sure to improve as well, and he’ll be much tougher for Romney to beat.
Scott Rasmussen is the founder and CEO of Rasmussen Reports.
Given what I have observed over the last three years, the very idea there may be enough people in this country that are going to vote to elect the Kenyan Muslim commie to a second four-year term is keeping me awake nights.
I cannot believe Barack Hussein Obama is even polling above the single digits in the approval area, but he is.
This is probably the most important election in our lifetimes – perhaps even in this nation’s history.
I just hope conservatives wll show up in huge numbers and vote for Mitt Romney even if, like me, they will have to hold their noses to do it.
We may actually survive one Obama term. We will not survive a second.