RUSH: I’m gonna talk about Obama, and I’ve got two stories here that are not encouraging for Obama and/or his campaign. The first is by Dr. David Hill. It’s in TheHill.com. He’s a pollster, and has worked for Republican candidates and causes since 1984; and despite that, TheHill.com published his piece. The headline is: “Obama Fails All Viability Tests,” and here’s a pull quote from the story: “The numbers say that voters don’t think he deserves reelection, he has no meaningful accomplishments…” This is polling numbers, that he has no meaningful accomplishments. The numbers say “that the nation’s headed in the wrong direction under his watch,” and, in fact, that’s a pathetic 16%. Only 16% of the American public think the country is headed in the right direction.
“He is simply not viable by any measure. ThatÂ’s an empirically informed, hard-nosed judgment. This isn’t a movie or fantasy tale where a miracle occurs at the last moment to save the day. If Democrat campaign professionals don’t start acknowledging the same, and intervening, they risk Obama bringing down their entire ticket.” That’s a pull quote from the piece: “Obama Fails All Viability Tests.” “Last week’s column,” Dr. Hill begins, “asserting that the president is unelectable has triggered strong responses. Democrats, in particular, seem to think my judgment is premature. It strikes them as ridiculous that anyone could make such a ‘bold prediction’ so far in advance of the 2012 election. Hey, that’s what we do, as seasoned political professionals, as pollsters.
“But I must stress that I am not so much making a personal prediction as drawing an informed conclusion based on all the numbers available. I do this in each election cycle for other candidates, and it’s time to make the call on President Obama. Whenever I have an incumbent client running for reelection, I insist on a viability study about a year out from the election — so, in the case of the presidential race, right about now. Anything that I do for my own, I should do for the opposition. So here goes. First, I look at the polling results from traditional ‘deserves reelection’ questions, the gold standard of viability testing. The most recent nationwide public poll I could find was one conducted by Quinnipiac University early last month.
“It showed 42 percent saying the president deserves reelection while 54 percent say he doesn’t. While this reelect number by itself is not necessarily a doomsday figure, it’s the 54 percent on the con side [the against side] that’s a killer. Most often, there is a large undecided percentage, but here it’s only 4 points. Voters have closed their minds — and the book on [Obama]. It ensures that when Obama faces a Republican nominee, the undecided voters in early polling will eventually vote against an undeserved reelection. The second numbers [that Dr. Hill] peruse[s] are perceptions of accomplishments. Eventually, Republicans will ask voters, ‘What has Barack Obama really accomplished?’ and he must answer.
“A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted in his first year found that only 14 percent of all voters felt he had accomplished ‘a great deal ‘ during his initial nine months in office, his ‘salad days.’ I cannot find evidence that the same question has been asked lately, but is there any chance that the result would be much different?” What has he accomplished? “In its Moving America Forward manifesto, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says Obama, with help from congressional Democrats, has five accomplishments: created private sector jobs, reduced debt, kept taxes low, passed a healthcare plan and reformed Wall Street.”
“That’s the group’s best list. Do you think most Americans believe Obama has accomplished those things? Aside from passing a healthcare plan, he has done almost none of that, in the public’s mind. According to the latest AP polling, conducted in mid-October, the president’s average approval rating across those five areas is 42 percent,” for crying out loud! “Obama brings no record of genuine accomplishment to his bid for reelection. The third set of determinative data for an incumbent is perception of the direction of the nation or state. Everyone knows this is the biggest problem for Obama. The latest CBS/New York Times poll has the ‘right direction’ at 21 percent.” I did see one at 16% this week or maybe earlier this week.
“It hasn’t been above 30 percent since the early summer. Incumbents simply don’t get reelected when three-fourths of the electorate see things ‘seriously off’ on the ‘wrong track.’ Even if Obama’s approval ratings or likability were better, he could not overcome the negative sentiment that demands a change in direction. Americans are going to demand and get change next November,” whether he likes it or not. “So Obama fails on all counts. The numbers say that voters don’t think he deserves reelection, he has no meaningful accomplishments, and the nation is headed off in the wrong direction under his watch. He is simply not viable by any measure. That’s an empirically informed, hard-nosed judgment. This isn’t a movie or fantasy tale where a miracle occurs at the last moment to save the day.
“If Democrat campaign professionals don’t start acknowledging the same, and intervening, they risk Obama bringing down their entire ticket.” David Hill in TheHill.com, pollster that’s worked for Republican candidates and causes since 1984. Then a similar story in the New York Times: “Is Obama Toast? Handicapping the November 2012 election.” Nate Silver. He used to be a blogger at the Daily Kos. Has a blog called FiveThirtyEight that the New York Times runs. “Americans are usually forgiving when they vote a man into the White House and he wants a second term. Of the last eight elected presidents, all but two — George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter — got their four more years. Which is why the conventional wisdom long held that Barack Obama would most likely weather his midpresidency slump to win another term.
“Then came the debt-ceiling debates of July and August, which seemed to crystallize Obama’s vulnerabilities in a way that even the Democrats’ midterm disaster of 2010 did not. It’s probably because he handled the situation so poorly, simultaneously managing to annoy his base, frustrate swing voters, concede a major policy victory to Republicans and — through the fear imported into the market by the brinksmanship in Congress and the credit-rating downgrade that followed — further imperil the economic recovery. On Aug. 12, a week and a half after the debate ended in Congress, Obama’s stock on Intrade, a popular political betting market, dipped below 50 percent for the first time. It has hovered just below the 50 percent threshold, usually at about 48 percent, ever since.
“Obama has gone from a modest favorite to win re-election to, probably, a slight underdog. Let’s not oversell this. A couple of months of solid jobs reports, or the selection of a poor Republican opponent, would suffice to make him the favorite again. Nevertheless, this is an unusual circumstance. Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes all looked like the favorite to win a year in advance of their re-election battles,” Obama doesn’t. “The fundamental flaw with much of what passes for political analysis is the tendency to think small,” Mr. Silver writes. “I blame soccer moms for this. Not the moms themselves — or their more rough-and-tumble companions from four years later, Nascar dads — but the narrow worldview that these demographic labels represent. The sophomoric strategist thinks he can slice the American electorate into a million little pieces and make it more than the sum of its parts.”
He goes on to cite examples of this, and he does basically what Dr. Hill did: He goes through all the polling data and applies it to every Republican candidate and comes up with Obama’s “viability,” and it doesn’t look good. Now, this thing prints out to 14 pages, and I’m not going to bother you with any more of it, but… (interruption) Why do they think Obama lost the debt ceiling debate? I… (sigh) Debt ceiling debate? Why do they think Obama lost the debt ceiling debate? I think it’s because all that time went by and Boehner and the Republicans didn’t cave. The end result is not how these people judge things. They judge things by how they “appear” every day in the media, and since the Republicans didn’t cave — and since Boehner was publicly standing up and looking like he opposed Obama every day — it looked like Boehner was running the show. That’s why they think that Obama lost the debt ceiling debate.
RUSH: Yes, I read all the way to the end the Nate Silver piece and I should add that as he goes through each of the Obama matchups, you could interpret (and I wouldn’t disagree with you if you wanted to) that he is trying to, in a roundabout way, give the Republicans confidence to pick Romney. He’s trying to convince them to pick Romney, but the bottom line is I think everybody in the conventional wisdom arena thinks that the regime actually would like to run against Romney because of health care. Look, don’t even try to tell me I’m wrong about that ’cause I know that I’m right about it. (interruption) Sure they’d love to run against Cain. Sure, but I’m just telling you: There’s nobody they think they’re afraid of. They’re living in a dreamland in the Obama campaign, is the bottom line here. It doesn’t matter what they think. They’re trying to manipulate, pick our candidate, no matter what. I think that’s part of Silver’s purpose here with his long piece in the New York Times.