Depression for Democrats in 2012

Robert Reich describes the world the way disheartened Democrats want to see it. Since there will not be any enthusiasm for President Obama’s reelection, they suggest that dissatisfaction will plague the Republicans, too, and might even save Obama. Having to resort to convoluted logic like this, so far from election day, is also a bad sign for the Democrats. Carter is mistaken to buy into this view.

Reich starts his column by talking about polls. So I talked to a pollster — Ed Goeas, a GOP grand master with a 25-year career built on being wise and analytical. Goeas says the enthusiasm gap is a real problem for Democrats. Polling is a blend of science and art, and it is only a current snapshot of today’s political landscape. Ed says that traditionally in a presidential year, voter enthusiasm between the two parties is fairly close — 5 points one way or another. A double-digit enthusiasm gap in favor of the Republicans has to be one of the biggest concerns of the Obama reelection team. His latest research puts the difference at 14 in favor of Republicans.

The 2010 election was a repudiation of Obama, not a rally to any Republican personality or agenda, and it was a landslide. Nothing has happened to diminish the intensity of those who voted for the anti-Obama candidate.

And don’t sell the GOP nominee short. That person will get a fresh look and be viewed very differently when he or she becomes one of two people who could be president. There is an appetite for optimism and cheerfulness, and if the GOP nominee captures that sentiment, then the malaise of Democrats in 2011 could become the great depression for Democrats in 2012.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.

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