Top Dem Strategist: Soaring Prices Will Sink Obama in 2012

Monday, 21 Mar 2011 09:00 PM

By Henry J. Reske and Ashley Martella

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President Barack Obama’s re-election chances are imperiled by the combination of rising food and gas prices, Democratic political analyst Doug Schoen tells Newsmax.TV.

Regarding another volatile issue, Schoen said the public opinion battle over collective-bargaining rights in Wisconsin is in a stalemate but could break for Republicans.

“The combination of rising food and gas prices could pose grave peril to President Obama’s re-election,” Schoen said in an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview. “Not only would it be inflationary, it literally hits people where they live. And we saw with Jimmy Carter in the late '70s the impact of stagflation. If we had a period of stagnant economic growth, inflation and potentially increasing interest rates it could be particularly perilous for our president.”

Story continues below video.

With recent poll numbers showing only 22 percent of likely voters think the country is headed in the right direction, there is every reason to believe that the 2012 presidential election will be more competitive than 2008’s, said Schoen, a political strategist who has worked for both Clintons.

“That being said, the Republicans are divided, there’s no obvious front-runner for the nomination. And then, come to presidents, particularly those who can raise a lot of money, have to be taken seriously, but it’s always a very serious warning sign when the right direction number for the president drops below 25 percent,” he said.

Similarly, he said, the 23 Democratic senators up for re-election in 2012 are in danger because the “circumstances that make President Obama unpopular make them equally, if not more, unpopular.”

In Wisconsin, the battle between Walker and public-sector unions over collective-bargaining rights and budget deficits is a draw when it comes to public opinion, with both sides garnering strong support.

“Democrats are certainly mobilized by what they regard as an assault on the right of labor to organize and bargain collectively,” Schoen said. “But if, as we’ve seen in states like New Jersey and Indiana, there is a good economic result given the fighting that we’ve seen in the legislature and in the streets, then I think ultimately it could well work to Governor Walker’s advantage.”

One level where the Democrats are succeeding is in energizing their base, he said.

“I think Democrats have shown an unprecedented level of mobilization,” he said. “One-hundred-thousand people in the streets last weekend, the most since the Vietnam War, that’s huge, that’s really significant. But whether that translates into broad based across the board support for the Democratic Party remains to be seen.”

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