No he can’t?
Three reasons why Obama could lose in 2012.
The economy is his albatross.
Obama may have been inaugurated during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, but the nation’s prosperity (or lack thereof) is now his responsibility. No President has ever been re-elected with an unemployment rate higher than 7.5 percent since Roosevelt. Even the Obama administration is forecasting unemployment above 8 percent in November 2012.
As Obama economic adviser Goolsbee argues on page 14, unemployment would be even higher had the President not passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That It’s A Wonderful Life scenario casts Obama as George Bailey, saving America from becoming Pottersville. Unfortunately, he has no Clarence the angel to show the voters how bad it could have been. “People don’t feel it,” says Baumann of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. “You can’t prove a counterfactual [scenario] that doesn’t exist.”
A poll conducted by Baumann’s firm found that voters are more concerned about the economy than in any recent election, and that only 9 percent of voters felt “warm” about it, tying an all-time low set in late 2008 and early 2009, at the beginning of the Great Recession.
“I think his future is inextricably linked to the performance of the economy,” says Kevin Artl, political director for the Illinois House Republicans. “For him to succeed for a second term, you’d have to see a sharp decline in unemployment and some strong growth numbers out of the economy.”
Saving grace If people feel the economy’s back on track, that helps Obama even if the unemployment rate is still higher than hoped.