I have put down a few points I think are critical to understanding why Obama is headed to an easy win despite the poor economy:
- The Economy is not that bad. Certainly 8.1% unemployment is unfortunate, but Reagan was able to cruise to victory with 7.7% and even today Republicans tend to say Reagan's economy was brilliant. Overall the economy has been growing, the price of houses has stopped the collapse, business failures have slowed down and people see their pension funds doing well and their houses no longer losing value. Compared to the situation in 2009 the economy is not great, but it could be worse and people are likely to not want to take a risk.
- People want a return to the Clinton years not Reagan or Bush year. The GOP needs to come to terms with the fact that most people look to Clinton and not Reagan as the 'good old days' now. The Clinton economy is clearly where people want to go back to, and Clinton is a democrat. Worse for the GOP that the only living former Presidents they have are named Bush. Lets be honest, would a event showing Carter and Clinton be more popular that a visit with Father and Son Bush? Yes. As much as the GOP wants to concentrate on Reagan its Clinton that people want back and Clinton was at the Democratic convention.
- People blame the GOP as much if not more than the Democrats. Romney's main problem may be that people who vote for him are essentially voting to return Congress and the Presidency to control of the GOP. As the Supreme Court tends to side with GOP ideology that would be to give the entire economy to the Republicans. In order for this to make sense one would have to believe that the GOP policies are not to blame and that the Democrats are fully to blame for economic problems. Romney is probably being hurt by improved GOP performance in Congress with the rise of the Tea Party. A majority of Americans clearly don't want a return to the GOP control of 2000 to 2006.
- 47%. A gaffe normally does not cost that much but Romney's gaffes are entirely unprecidented. One can only wonder at what Romney was thinking when he said that about half of Americans see themselves as victims who don't take responsibility for their own lives, but then pinning them down to people who don't pay income tax was just...well stupid.
- GM. Clearly the GM bailout was going to be an issue. Despite the GOP effort to make the bailout seem a failure by looking at stock values in the end many workers in Ohio still have their jobs only because of the bailout. And GM has performed surprisingly well overall since.
- Romney is just awful, and Ryan is not much better. What can be said, where did the GOP find these guys? And the big question is if this is a one off or is the GOP facing a serious problem over the coming year.