Barack Obama may be staring down a long, dark hallway of unemployment.
“Welcome to the club,” says 15.1% of the voters.
It is unappetizing to agree with Gollum’s older brother, but proto-demon James Carville was correct in 1992 when he said “It’s the economy, stupid.” Any president seeking reelection during a recession faces dismal prospects. Any President who campaigns on hope and declares that a lack of economic change in three years equates to a single term in office is fulfilling his prophesies. American voters rebel against nearly everything, but economic hardship and anything that slows traffic top their lists.
With global economic outlooks deteriorating and the possibility of a double-dip recession rising, the odds of a one-term Obama presidency increases. Granted, the Electoral College spread currently favors Barack, but with certain swing states in sway, it only takes a minor catalyst to cause defeat.
That catalyst is belief.
One must grant Obama’s 2008 election team with well-crafted branding. As hollow as his “hope and change” slogan was, in a moment of initial economic calamity and against an opponent who looked like everyone’s doddering great grandfather, “hope” for economic salvation and “change” from our old-white-guy presidential history was a well biased brand. Yet image lasts only so long against constant reality. Barack’s trillion bucks in misnamed “stimulus” failed, and come November the economy may be a tad worse than today (and nobody is crowing about our current economic condition). Barack carries a ton of eroded belief into the election. However, he might survive in the absence of some economic superiority.
Which voters believe Mitt Romney has.
(In full disclosure, I won’t be voting for either of these fellows, so don’t think for a minute I’m shilling for the GOP nominee)
Twice as many voters believe that Romney’s background “would cause him to make good decisions, not bad ones, in dealing with the nation’s economic problems over the next four years.” Nobody aside from insane people and MSNBC reporters believes that Obama’s economic policies have prevailed. Economic woes, exacerbated come November, will make Romney look like an economic genius compared to Barack.
Perhaps Romney will win the Nobel Prize for economics without doing anything, much like Barack did for world peace.
Hope, reality and fear have complex interplay. Hope is belief that defies fear. Fear is the belief that danger lurks. Reality could swing the hopeful to dread or the fearful to faith. As things stand now and are projected into the next quarter, reality creates more fear than hope and may dash Obama’s.