[Posted by Karl]
The latest from PPP, because it’s getting buzz:
PPP’s first national poll of 2012 finds Barack Obama with his best standing against Mitt Romney since last May, right after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Obama leads Romney 49-44.
It’s not as if Obama’s suddenly become popular. He remains under water with 47% of voters approving of him to 50% who disapprove. But Romney’s even less popular, with only 35% rating him favorably while 53% have a negative opinion of him. Over the last month Romney’s seen his negatives with independents rise from 46% to 54%, suggesting that the things he has to say and do to win the Republican nomination aren’t necessarily helping him for the general. Obama’s turned what was a 45-36 deficit with independents a month ago into a 51-41 advantage.
I would not be overly concerned about this, not least because head-to-head polling is basically meaningless at this point in the cycle. Obama does not break 50%, despite PPP’s sample containing 41% Democrats — a couple of points higher than Dem turnout in 2008, let alone 2004 or 2000. Republicans are 35% of the sample, which would be about average. And the poll wants us to believe that Obama is not popular, but surged 15% with Indies in a single month. I would want to see that replicated in other polls before I buy it, particualrly since the only other poll this year to date with a Obama +5 result is the traditionally Obama-friendly reuters/Ispos poll. Tom Jensen is focused on Mitt’s unfavorables, which could be the Bain issue, but may also represent a lot of conservative disgust with Romney’s increasingly-likely nomination. It would also be interesting to know who the 7% undecided are, because Jensen previously told us it was disproportionately Republican in 2011 polls of swing states.
[Posted by Karl]
With a ridiculous cover headline — “Why Are Obama’s Critics So Dumb?” — I get why Ann Althouse (or anyone, really) would not want to bother with the latest from Andrew Sullivan, although he is likely not responsible for that headline. The article is not an ad hominem attack of Obama’s critics, but a centralized compilation of his various apologies for the President. Insofar as his defenses parallel the likely narrative of Obama’s reelect campaign, it’s worth looking at his takes on criticism of Obama from the right (Sullivan also addresses criticism from the left, which won’t play much role in the campaign) on major issues:
Jobs. Sullivan begins — as Team Obama almost certainly will — with Obama inheriting a terrible economy, writing that “[n]o fair person can blame Obama for the wreckage of the [first] 12 months, as the financial crisis cut a swath through employment.” Yet shortly thereafter, he writes:
Since [the beginning of 2010], the U.S. has added 2.4 million jobs. That’s not enough, but it’s far better than what Romney would have you believe, and more than the net jobs created under the entire Bush administration.
Sullivan is comparing Obama’s gross job creation to Bush’s net job creation, ignoring that Bush also inherited a recession resulting from the collapse of the tech bubble. By Sullivan’s own standard, this is unfair.
By the standard of net jobs created, Obama remains underwater and will be lucky to get to zero net jobs created by the end of his term. Conversely, if we simply judge Obama by the recovery, the results are terrible when compared to past recoveries. Nearly a million people have dropped out of the labor force, dropping the participation rate to an historic low, implying an unemployment rate close to 11%, instead of the official 8.5%. (more…)