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Hullabaloo


Monday, August 29, 2011

 
Shaky foundation

by digby

New AP poll:

Whites and women are a re-election problem for President Barack Obama. Younger voters and liberals, too, but to a lesser extent.

All are important Democratic constituencies that helped him win the White House in 2008 and whose support he'll need to keep it next year.


I'd say so. It's his base. Unless the Democratic Party is composed of older, non-white moderate and conservative males these days, he's going to need a whole lot of those voters.

The Dems have had problems with a majority of white voters for some time. But they desperately need to keep women, especially young single women, on board as well as keep the enthusiasm of the young and liberal of all races and ethnicities.

In the latest AP-GfK survey, less than half of all women and less than half of all men approve of the job Obama is doing. Just 50 percent of women said Obama deserves re-election.

Still, women are more likely than men to see Obama as empathetic or a strong leader, and they give him sharply higher positive ratings on his handling of the economy. Forty-three percent of women approve, compared with 29 percent of men.

-Younger voters and liberals are showing doubts about him, too.

Obama won younger voters in 2008 by a bigger margin than Democrat Bill Clinton in his victories in 1992 and 1996. But younger Democrats are no more apt to say the president deserves re-election than are older Democrats.


The Satan Sandwich really hurt him with the base:

Twenty-seven percent of Democrats under age 45 say Obama is not a strong leader, compared with 11 percent in June.

While a majority of liberals continue to say they view Obama as a strong leader, the strength of those opinions dropped sharply this summer. The share of liberals who say "strong leader" describes Obama "very well" has fallen from 53 percent to 29 percent in the aftermath of the debt-ceiling debate.


I could be wrong, but I'm guessing that if he goes out on the trail with more of this Grand Bargain bullshit, this state of affairs is going to get worse. Democrats aren't buying it --- and they aren't impressed with the excuse that the President of the United States has no power and must accede to whatever the looniest teabagger decides is his bottom line. It's just not the way Americans have experienced their government up until now and unless somebody is able to adequately explain what's happened, this framing of "not a strong leader" is the only way they have of understanding it.

As Rick Perlstein puts it so well --- people don't really care about everyone getting along when times are tough. It unites people if politicians pick the right fight. They want leaders who will "lay down on the tracks for them." They'll wait to bind up the nation's wounds after the battle is done.

Moreover, it's important for the politicians to recognize tjhat Democrats are suffering right along with everyone else --- more so considering that the Democrats represent poor people. Blind loyalty only gets you so far when the country is in this much trouble. All you have to do is look at this to know that this economic downturn is shaking the political foundations of both parties in ways that are very unpredictable. Unless things magically get better before November 2012 (the apparent Democratic strategy) there's no telling how this might go. These aren't normal political times and counting on the old "where are the gonna go" strategy is pretty risky.

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