Check out Nate Silver’s piece in the New York Times entitled “Why Another Democrat Wouldn’t Do Better Than Obama in 2012:”
President Obama’s re-election bid is in quite a lot of trouble, with falling approval numbers and sour economic forecasts. But it’s probably mistaken to assume that those problems would just go away if Democrats replaced him with another candidate.
The evidence, if anything, points in the opposite direction: Mr. Obama is more popular than his policies, and probably gives the Democrats a better chance of maintaining the White House than another Democrat would.
Read the whole thing, and don’t overlook the reader comments, which go all over the place. I found myself nodding in agreement with all of the following comments, even though they are not at all consistent, confirming what I already know: I am both immensely fond of, and immensely dissatisfied with, this President.
(1) Normkat06 from New Mexico:
As to the unusually large gap between the percent who disapprove of Obama’s performance but who feel favorably towards him — no big mystery. There are a substantial number of people who like Obama as a person but who feel he has been far too accomodating to the tax-the-poor-but-not-the-rich Republicans. I fall into that category myself, as do many people in my family. Every last one of us, however, is going to vote for him next November against any Republican challenger. And they won’t stay home, either, because they believe, as I do, that electing a Republican in 2012 will spell the end of the American middle class as we have known it.
As long as Obama’s favorability ratings stay over 50%, he’s the favorite. Too much of the approval rating is made up of voters who are mad at him for not being MORE opposed to the Republicans, and will vote for him over Jesus Christ himself if the Saviour ran as a Republican.
(2) mvalji from San Deigo:
. . . any sentiment within the the Democratic party to change the top of the presidential ticket is less a reflection of Obama’s political positions or actions per se but rather a worry that the compromising (or conciliatory) style of leadership he puts forth is inappropriate for the current political climate.
Because of this, [the] attempt to dragoon Sec. Clinton is unsurprising because, while her political orientation (as Nate points out) is scarcely different from Obama’s, she is known for her moxie and aggressiveness. Both are leadership qualities that some Democrats feel are necessary to work with and against the Republican party in its current form.
(3) Bill from Berkeley:
. . . [T]he main reason that I’m frustrated with [Obama] as my party’s candidate [is that he] frequently uses right-wing talking points (e.g., government needs to tighten its belt) for their supposed political advantages, but in the end this only hurts the image of Democratic policies like stimulus. How can voters trust Democratic goals when even the President expresses doubts about them? GOP politicians virtually never stray from right-wing talking points, even when they are on very shaky logical of factual grounds. . . .
(3) Jason Dick, Italy
The reason why I’d like to see a primary challenge for Obama is *not* about electability. I have no illusions whatsoever that a primary challenge is risky . . . I am simply that pessimistic about the policies that Obama has been proposing that we really need to take the chance . . . There’s also the added bonus that it may potentially push Obama further to the left.