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Morning Jay: The Fundamentals Do Not Currently Favor Obama's Reelection

6:00 AM, Jul 27, 2011 • By JAY COST
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Finally, what about the campaign? Could Obama be expected to regain his edge when he takes his positions to the voters? It is possible, of course, yet winning the campaign argument seems easier said than done for the president at this point.

Obama’s job approval at the moment is relatively weak – as of this writing, the RealClearPolitics average has it at 45.4 percent. What should worry the Obama team more is how much worse the president’s support is when it comes to particular issues, especially those that are of top concern to voters.

Consider the AP-GfK poll, taken last month. It showed his overall job approval rating at 52-47. However, on the issues that respondents listed as “extremely” or “very important,” it tended to be much worse.

How well can the president fare in a campaign that is dominated by issues on which he is extremely unpopular?

At this point, Obama is a prisoner to events. He needs a substantial, noticeable improvement in the economy, specifically as independent voters experience it, to have a decent shot at reelection. And beyond that, his health care bill remains extremely unpopular, and the deficit is bound to remain an issue next year. So, he has a lot of fundamental challenges. Assuming that his macro-position does not improve (and the Republicans nominate a reasonably acceptable candidate), the data at this point indicate that he would have a very difficult time winning reelection next year.

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