Do you really think Obama’s that much ahead?

I don’t. And even if he is, it’s a long way until the election. But I’m curious what y’all think of the Bloomberg survey everybody’s talking about:

Barack Obama has opened a significant lead over Mitt Romney in a Bloomberg National Poll that reflects the presumed Republican nominee’s weaknesses more than the president’s strengths.

Obama leads Romney 53 percent to 40 percent among likely voters, even as the public gives him low marks on handling the economy and the deficit, and six in 10 say the nation is headed down the wrong track, according to the poll conducted June 15- 18.

The survey shows Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has yet to repair the damage done to his image during the Republican primary. Thirty-nine percent of Americans view him favorably, about the same as when he announced his presidential candidacy last June, while 48 percent see him unfavorably — a 17-percentage point jump during a nomination fight dominated by attacks ads. A majority of likely voters, 55 percent, view him as more out of touch with average Americans compared with 36 percent who say the president is more out of touch.

I haven’t seen anything happen out there that suggests we’ve moved away from our dead-heat impasse in American politics. But maybe it looks different from outside SC…

20 thoughts on “Do you really think Obama’s that much ahead?

  1. tired old man

    I keep telling my conservative friends that Obama would be in deep trouble if he had an electable candidate running against him.

    Romney’s greatest problem is that he is a CEO candidate. By that I mean he is used to operating in a controlled environment. CEOs seldom get tough questions, and their most important role is to reassure the stockholders. All in all, it is a privileged position, with power and control assumed and granted.

    The President, by contrast, has a background of being a lawyer and a community organizer — two occupations with an expectation of being questioned and a requirement of knowing how to avoid being defensive.

    Therefore Mitt simply appears dreadfully uncomfortable — and his recitation of America the Beautiful and the Ballad of Davy Crockett may be two times we are all grateful he did not attempt t sing.

  2. `Kathryn Braun

    “But maybe it looks different from outside SC…” Well, yeah, it might–take off the red-state glasses, and….

  3. Doug Ross

    Ahead in a national poll means little. He’s going to win California, New York, and Illinois easily.

    The electoral vote will be a lot closer than last time. The rust belt will be the deciding factor.

  4. Bryan Caskey

    It’s an outlier.

    AP has a poll of 878 RVs: Obama +3

    Rasmussen has a poll of 1500 LV’s: Romney +4

    Gallup has a poll of 3050 RV’s: Romney +2

    However, is there anything less relevant than a national poll in a presidential election? It’s a collection of individual state races. If you really want to watch the “horse race” I’d advise you to follow the polls in: Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

    You could probably narrow it down to just Michigan and Florida, because I don’t see a way for Obama to reasonably win without Michigan, and same for Romney and Florida.

  5. bud

    Obama has about a 2 point lead based on a concensus of the polls. It all comes down to the next 3 BLS labor reports, especially the unemployment rate. Good numbers will guarantee Obama’s re-election. Conversely it’s hard to see him surviving if the rate creeps up to 8.5% or higher.

  6. bud

    Given the volatile nature of economic data it makes no sense to make a prediction this far out. But who ever said I have any sense. I’ll guess the econ data improves slightly over the next 4 months. Here’s my first prediction:

    Popular Vote: Obama 52 – Romney 48

    Electoral Vote: Map is the same as 2008 except for Indiana, North Carolina and Florida. That means Obama wins 303-235

  7. bud

    It’s a truism to say the popular vote is irrelevant. You can easily draw a map with one candidate losing the popular vote by 70 points and still winning the election. All you have to do is have one candidate win a few large states by narrow margins with very low turnout in those states.

    But the popular vote and the electoral are highly correlated. The 2000 election was fairly close in both popular and electoral. Hard to see a candidate winning the popular by more than 2% and still losing the electoral. But it is possible. What an absolutely absurd situation to deal with. Hopefully Obama will win the electoral and Romney the popular by a huge margin this time around. If that happens the electoral college will be gone within a year.

  8. Brad

    Yes, of course, as y’all say, a national poll is not a fine instrument for predicting how the electoral college will go (although, as Bud says, it can be a very rough indicator).

    No, what I was doing here was reacting to the poll on its own terms. I was doubting that Obama was actually that far ahead on what this poll presumes to measure.

    As for the red-state glasses — even in SC, in 2008 there was great enthusiasm among the minority of voters who would support Obama. It was palpable. I wrote on a number of occasions about “the Obama factor.” I kept meeting political neophytes running for down-ballot offices who I thought from the moment I met them were inspired to public life by Obama — and inevitably, my suspicion would be confirmed at some point in the interview. That surge was so powerful that it also led to some unfortunate things happening — such as Jim Manning unseating Mike Montgomery on Richland County Council.

    I’m not sensing that kind of energy this time around…

  9. bud

    of course, as y’all say, a national poll is not a fine instrument for predicting how the electoral college will go ..

    And you don’t have a problem with that?

  10. Brad

    Nope. Because I don’t necessarily equate “popular” with good. It’s SORT OF good, but not always the best thing.

    I think it’s good that, for instance, a person can’t win 2-1 in California and lose slightly everywhere else and win the election.

    But of course the electoral college is in its own way as imperfect as a straight popular vote. Our fate still tends to lie in the hands of a few big states with huge numbers of electors. It would be nice to see South Carolina play a part in deciding a national election sometimes, the way it sort of did in 1960. Of course, South Carolina voters would have to be more open-minded and less inclined to party-line voting for that to happen.

  11. Brad

    The Framers wisely saw the popular vote as one way of assembling one type of constituency.

    They made checks and balances work in part by giving each major part of the federal government a different constituency. The Senate answered to the states as states (this was changed so that they were popularly elected rather than chosen by legislatures, but at least they still represent entire states rather than districts). The House were chosen popularly, but from narrow local constituencies (so that they balanced each other within that body, but then balanced the less-populist Senate collectively). That was important in that it gave immediate popular input to government (although I still think it a bit much that they are only elected for two years), but insulated us a bit from popular emotions of the moment.

    The president was the only person in government with a NATIONAL constituency, and he was chosen in a hybrid arrangement, partly chosen by states, and less directly by the people in those states.

    Judges were to be chosen in the least populist, most conservative manner of all, because they needed to be the most insulated from popular politics of the moment, answering to the Constitution rather than popular sentiment. The president and the Senate had to agree for them to be chosen.

    A popular vote is, as I said earlier, one good way to choose some elected officials. But a smart system will combine electoral methods, as ours does.

  12. Bart

    “It’s a truism to say the popular vote is irrelevant. You can easily draw a map with one candidate losing the popular vote by 70 points and still winning the election. All you have to do is have one candidate win a few large states by narrow margins with very low turnout in those states.”…bud

    bud, on this one, we agree. If memory serves correct, Bill Clinton made the observation that all he needed to do was carry a few key states whether he won the popular vote or not. He concentrated on breaking one or two former Republican leaning states away from Bush I. Ross Perot did the rest and Clinton won without winning the popular vote. And the Republicans bitched and moaned the same way Democrats did when Nader drew enough votes away to give the victory to Bush.

    Now, the once solid block of Southern states is no longer as solid as it once was. NC and VA both went for Obama in 2008.

    Whether the Electoral College is still relevant or not is a debate for you and others to have. In the end, I think it balances out well to maintain it until something much better comes along.

  13. bud

    Nice civics lesson but none of that in any way is a useful defense for the electoral college. The biggest fallacy is this notion that “states” are somehow a conscious being that should be considered on it’s own accord. The entity that matters is the voter. Why should a voters preference count for less if he moves from swing state Ohio to solidly blue New York or red Texas? His stake in the outcome remains the same. Perhaps there was some merit to that back in the days when folks rarely moved but given the transitory nature of people the character of the individual states is really rather meaningless.

    As for the big states having so much power that’s completely bogus. There are far fewer voters per elector in Wyoming than there are in California. Just look back to the 2000 election. All the focus was on Florida but New Hampshire, a tiny state, could have rendered all that controversy mute with just a couple thousand more votes for Gore.

    But I fully understand no argument against this obviously highly flawed system will matter until a Republican loses the election while at the same time winning the popular vote. Once that happens everyone on both sides of the political aisle will clearly see absurd this system is. And it will go away faster than a snow cone on a summer day in Columbia.

  14. Steven Davis II

    What I find more interesting are the poll breakdowns by county. Even the states a candidate wins, sometimes 80% of the land area voted for the other candidate.

  15. Steven Davis II

    @bud – “Hopefully ROMNEY will win the electoral and OBAMA the popular by a huge margin this time around. If that happens the electoral college will be gone within a year.”

    Fixed it for you.

  16. bud

    Here’s how ridiculous this all can get. As it stands now NC will be a fairly important battleground state but SC will be of no particular interest to either candidate. Obama and Romney will likely spend millions of dollars and countless hours of time in the Tar Heel state trying to woo voters. SC voters are unlikely to see either candidate at all. (At least we’ll be spared those annoying and grossly misleading TV ads). In effect SC is irrelevant. And it never will be relevant simply because it is a solidly red state. Vermont and NH are likewise states that are extremely important or completely irrelevant. The Granite state, dispite it’s small size, will garner a huge amount of attention while similiarly sized and located VT will be completely ignored since it is true blue.

    But if we had a popular vote EVERYONE would be treated the same. The candidates just might pay SC a visit because switching a vote in SC will count equally to switching one in NC.

    Again, I fully understand there is no argument that will work for someone who sees the logic in our current system. Anad that’s what makes this so fascinating. How can people of good faith see something so very differently? There must be some difference in the way peoples brains are wired.

  17. Mark Stewart


    Everyone would be treated the same – which means that all the little states would become further marginalized.

    The same thing applies to all the big, empty counties. Square miles don’t vote, people do.

  18. Steve Gordy

    I wasn’t aware that land masses had votes that counted in Presidential elections. Anyway, since it’s likely to be a nail-biter (regardless of which side you’re on), I’ll go far out on a limb and say that “As Virginia goes, so goes the nation.” If the Old Dominion goes for Romney, he wins; if Obama carries it again, he will prevail.

  19. `Kathryn Braun

    Yikes–one thing I take comfort in is that SC does NOT matter in terms of selecting the President!!


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