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July 09, 2012

Poll: Majority of Americans Say Obama Transformed The Country... For the Worse
Plus: Majority Agrees With Contempt Vote Against Eric Holder

56% agree that Obama has changed the country, but for the worse.

A new poll for The Hill found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama’s first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership.

The results signal broad voter unease with the direction the nation has taken under Obama’s leadership and present a major challenge for the incumbent Democrat as he seeks reelection this fall.

In addition, 53% of the country approves of the contempt vote against Eric Holder.

According to a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning, 53% of people questioned say they approve of the House vote a week and a half ago to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to a controversial program called Operation Fast and Furious, with one in three saying they disapprove of the move and 13% unsure.

Note that last poll isn't of likely voters, or even registered voters, but simply breathing adults.

I think both polls are very predictive of November's vote. My theory (which I've written about a lot) is that late-deciding voters actually are not so late deciding. They are simply very late about admitting they've decided. Because they tend to be disinterested in politics, they know they haven't done their homework, and thus hold off on making an acknowledged decision until they get all the "facts" -- until they've done their homework -- which they never actually do.

Another tendency I've noticed is that when people swing towards a candidate, they tend to answer every secondary question about the candidate in the same way -- in 2008, they declared that Obama would be better on healing the nation's racial and political divides, better on maintaining the social safety net, and better at producing "change;" they also said he'd be better on the deficit, taxes, and terrorism, traditionally thought to be Republican strengths.

(By the way, I previously knocked such independents for refusing to parse between different questions, and basically just say "My guy is best at everything." But I realized -- partisans do the same exact thing; it's not like many of us think that Obama would be better on, say, Pakistan or something. So I have to adjust that part of my thinking: Nominal independents begin thinking like partisans, for whatever team they've decided to come down on, this particular time.)

These polls seem consistent with (if not proving) my belief that the under-structure of the campaign is tilted greatly in Romney's favor, and that head-to-head polls are a lagging indicator of voter preference. Actual voter preference will be determined by facts on the ground as we head into November, particularly economic facts; these are the leading indicators of voter preference. As we know more and more facts (and have fewer and fewer unknowns, and unpredictable Black Swans become even more unlikely) we tend to know what voter preference will ultimately be.

It is hard to square an Obama victory with 56% of likely voters saying he's changed the country for the worse. People make oddball conclusions, but to vote affirmatively for Obama, in the face of believing he's made the country worse, seems more oddball than usual. "He's done a bad job, and is taking the country in a negative direction, so he's got my vote" just doesn't seem to scan.

Likewise, 53% of the country supports the contempt vote against Holder. If a majority of the country really felt affection for Obama, one would imagine their belief about this would tend to match their beliefs about Obama; if they were pro-Obama, they'd characterize the contempt vote as a "distraction" and "political games" and a "witch-hunt," as the media and the Obama campaign do (but I repeat myself).

Instead, a majority of all adults thinks it's the right move.

My conclusion is that a majority of all adults also wants to replace Obama as president. They just aren't comfortable with announcing that yet. They still need "facts" and "detailed plans" and all the other extemporizing crap they say.

But that's their inclination. I suppose that inclination can be overcome, but time is growing short, if there's some big, bright, helpful news for Obama on the horizon.

And the Downside Risk Is Much, Much Greater Than the Upside Risk: "Dr. Doom" Roubini, who has a good track record at predicting "unexpected" economic calamities, sees a "Perfect Storm" for the world economy gaining strength.

In May, Roubini predicted four elements – stalling growth in the U.S., debt troubles in Europe, a slowdown in emerging markets, particularly China, and military conflict in Iran - would come together to create a storm for the global economy in 2013.

“(The) 2013 perfect storm scenario I wrote on months ago is unfolding,” Roubini said on Twitter on Monday.

Chinese inflation data released on Monday, suggested that the economy is cooling faster than expected, while employment data out of the U.S. on Friday indicated that jobs growth was tepid for a fourth straight month in June.

Roubini said that unlike in 2008 when central banks had “policy bullets” to stimulate the global economy, this time around policymakers are “running out of rabbits to pull out of the hat."

digg this
posted by Ace at 02:48 PM

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