Americans’ take-home pay is falling, and that’s bad news for President Barack Obama as he embarks on his re-election campaign.
Real disposable income slipped 0.2 percent in January and 0.1 percent in February, Politico
reports. If that trend continues, Obama would be lucky to garner 45 percent of the vote, according to a model developed by former Harvard University professor Douglas Hibbs.
Vanderbilt University political scientist Larry Bartels told Politico his model shows that Obama should win if incomes grow by more than 1 percent for the year. But that’s highly unlikely given the economy’s current weakness. The Bartels model is based on the results of elections from 1948 to 2008.
The January and February decreases in income “would suggest that the economy needs to pick up between now and November in order for him to have a good chance to win,” Bartels said.
Joe Pounder, research director at the Republican National Committee, agrees. “This election will come down to how Americans answer a basic question: are they better off than they were four years ago?” he told Politico. “And when families across this country sit at their kitchen tables at night looking at their bills and their paychecks, the answer is ‘no.’”
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