As I explained a couple of days ago, Obama 2.0 is much more to my liking. The president’s message is sharper and delivered with a spine-stiffening tone. By putting what he wants on paper (aka the American Jobs Act and his deficit-reduction plan), Congress has no more excuse for inaction. And he has called on the American people to help him get his agenda passed.
But three new polls released in the last two days make me wonder if Obama 2.0 will be enough to pull his reelection prospects out of their nosedive. And one poll in particular, on African American support, ought to ring five-alarm fire bells in the West Wing.
Making that uphill battle even tougher is this from Gallup.“A slight majority of Americans for the first time blame President Obama either a great deal (24%) or a moderate amount (29%) for the nation’s economic problems,” the venerable polling agency revealed yesterday. While 69 percent still place the blame for the wrecked economy at the feet of President George W. Bush, that 53 percent now also blame Obama means his “I inherited this mess” argument has lost its power.
Gallup’s analysis of this is as interesting as it is ominous for the president.
Former President Bush continues to take a harder hit than President Obama in public perceptions of who is responsible for the nation’s ongoing economic problems. However, that is largely because Republicans are more willing to blame Bush than Democrats are to blame Obama. Because most Republicans and Democrats are going to vote for their own party’s presidential candidate in 2012, this imbalance won’t help Obama much electorally. More importantly, about 6 in 10 political independents believe both presidents bear considerable blame.
With a 26 percent approval rating on his stewardship of the economy, this is ominous indeed. But not nearly as foreboding as the startling plummet in support among African Americans, a rock-solid core constituency for the nation’s first African American president.
According to The Post-ABC News poll released yesterday, Obama went from an 83 percent “strongly favorable” rating among blacks in April to 58 percent. Yes, they are still in his corner. But this is a 26-point drop in five months. Not only does this show that African Americans are as dyspeptic as the rest of the country, but it also is a reflection of the simmering frustration enunciated by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) in Detroit in August. The message from blacks to Obama in this stunning poll is “We love ya, bruh, but damn.. . .”
All kidding aside, this is the most ominous of the three new polls. If African Americans don’t show up at the polls in November 2012, Obama could go the way of David Dinkins, the first black mayor of New York City. No one puts my long-simmering fear of this into perspective better than Dr. Michael Fauntroy, an associate professor of public policy at George Mason University specializing in race and American politics, who sounded the alarm in an Aug. 4 blog post. The parallels between the environment faced by Dinkins during his mayoralty and Obama during his presidency are noteworthy. But the key for Fauntroy is black turnout.
President Obama could retain the same proportion of the African American vote, but of a smaller Black electoral pie. If that happens then President Obama could become David Dinkins — a groundbreaking electoral winner who loses reelection, at least in part, because Black apathy keeps a significant portion of his base at home.. . .
The President could lose his reelection bid if enough Black voters stay home because they either do not believe the Republican nominee can win or they just do not feel the same urgency to show up on election day. Not voting for your candidate is the same as voting for his or her opponent, so it could be African American voters who keep the President from a second term. In 2008, Mr. Obama won Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida by small margins on the strength of Black votes. If enough Black voters in those states stay home, then the Republican nominee will take the oath of office in January of 2013. While there are other segments of Mr. Obama’s base that are lukewarm at the moment, there is no way he can win with a smaller universe of Black voters.
Obama cannot afford to have his base, especially African Americans, stay home on Nov. 6, 2012. That’s why I’ve had it with the progressive-liberal circular firing squad and the incessant pining for President Hillary.They sow discontent among the base and suppress voter turnout. Do enough of that and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will get his wish — and the wish of every Republican. Barack Obama will be a one-term president.