Obama’s Popularity Defies Weak Economy, Policies

Tuesday, 18 Sep 2012 08:42 PM

By Jordan D. Robrish

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The dismal economy combined with a number of foreign policy crises have left some political analysts asking how it is that President Barack Obama still manages to remain so close to GOP rival Mitt Romney in an election that should be a referendum on the president’s disappointing record.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows Romney up by 2 percent over the president nationwide — 47 percent to 45 percent — while the Gallup tracking poll had the president leading by 1 point.

“President Obama is outside the ideological mainstream, viewed as very liberal by an electorate that's moderate or somewhat conservative. His domestic policies are unpopular, notably his healthcare law, economic stimulus, and spending plans,” lamented Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard in an opinion piece published on Tuesday. “His foreign policy initiatives — curbing Iran's nuclear weapons program, improving America's position in the Middle East, fostering better relations with Russia — have failed. The public wants Obama to jettison his ineffective economic policies and implement new ones. But he refuses.”

Even so, Barnes predicts that Obama has a 50-50 chance or better to beat Romney.

“Since Obama took office in January 2009, the well-being of Americans has declined,” Barnes opined. “Slow growth, high unemployment, increased poverty, and millions of dropouts from the job market are hallmarks of his presidency. The median income of American households has fallen to its lowest level since 1995. From June 2009 (when the recession officially ended) to June 2012, median annual household income diminished from $53,508 to $50,964. All age groups under 65 suffered drops in income, 25-to-34-year- olds a drop of 8.9 percent.”

Barnes noted that Obama’s poll numbers are roughly the same as President Bush's in 2004, when he won a second term.

The Romney campaign is not without culpability, as Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. told Politico. “We’re running a good campaign so far but we’re not running a great campaign,” he said. “We’re going to have to run a great campaign to beat this guy.”

Things were even worse following the Democratic Convention when Obama stretched his lead by as much as seven points, leading Romney 50 to 43 percent.

Romney will have a chance to challenge Obama on the key issues, and increase his approval ratings in the upcoming presidential debates. The presidential candidates will face off three times in October with the first debate coming on Oct. 3 at Denver University in Colorado.

Before the Democratic Convention began Obama led Romney 47 to 46 percent among registered voters. Tuesday’s tracking poll showed the race had reverted closer to those numbers.

The country under Obama has also suffered a series of foreign policy crises that raised questions over the president’s policies and his handling of recent events such as the Sept. 11 attack that claimed the lives of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three Americans in Benghazi, eruptions throughout the Middle East, as well as the ongoing dispute with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.

Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump on Monday dubbed President Barack Obama “an unlucky president” and he added that Republicans should be winning the election in a “landslide” rather than the close contest pollsters are predicting.

“The Republicans are doing something wrong,” Trump said on the “Fox & Friends” broadcast. “Their convention was not good. The Democrats had a much better convention. Something is wrong with the Republicans and they have to get tougher and smarter or they’re going to lose this election and it’s almost impossible to lose.”

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