Improving Economy Driving Independents Back to Obama
It really is the economy, stupid.
That campaign mantra, coined by James Carville for Bill Clinton's 1992 White House run, is as true today as it was then. But this time, the improving economy is aiding the incumbent, President Barack Obama, rather than spelling his demise, as was the case for President George H.W. Bush.
A recent poll released by the Pew Research Center, shows Obama improving his standing with independent voters in a head-to-head match-up against top GOP contender Mitt Romney. Just a month ago, only 40 percent of registered independent voters nationwide preferred Obama to the former Massachusetts governor, but now that number sits at 51 percent.
"When you asked the most important problem for the past three years it's been the economy, the economy, the economy; it's at the top of the voters' agenda," says Carroll Doherty, an associate director at the Pew Research Center. "There's some indication that that may be helping Obama, as well as the image difficulties that Romney is having, not just with his own base but with independents."
Since mid-January and Monday when the latest Pew survey was released, the unemployment rate has dropped from 8.5 percent 8.3 percent , with the economy adding nearly 250,000 jobs in the month of January. Other recent reports show Americans may be experiencing boosts in earnings and savings. And a Gallup survey released Tuesday claims people are as optimistic about the economy as they have been since Obama was elected. It doesn't hurt, either, that the stock market has been on the rebound for much of 2012.
"Americans have grown steadily more positive about current economic conditions since last August, when the budget battles, stock market declines, and fears of a double-dip recession sent economic confidence to a low for the year," writes Dennis Jacobe, Gallup's chief economist, in a release. "Americans' economic confidence, though still in negative territory, is now near its highest levels of the past four years."
But analysts also say the prolonged Republican nomination battle is taking a toll on Romney. Doherty points to Pew's findings when independents are asked about Romney's trustworthiness and his qualifications for president.
"You start to see doubts about aspects of his image," Doherty says. "Romney had a 10 point drop with independents on whether or not he was qualified to be president and a 12 point drop with honesty and trustworthiness. So this primary fight seems to be taking a toll on Romney among the base but also among independent voters."
But despite Romney's struggles, he's still represents the GOP's best shot at the White House, according to Pew. He trails Obama by eight points, 44 percent to 52 percent. His rivals match-up less favorably in head-to-head contests, with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum garnering 43 percent to Obama's 53 and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tallying just 39 percent to Obama's 57 percent, according to Pew.
Jessica Taylor, senior analyst with the Rothenberg Report, says Obama's increased support among independents when matched with Romney may indicate some voters who were dissatisfied with the economy, or him overall, are willing to give him a second look.
"He's come out with his budget plan and you're going to hear him talk a lot about trying to get things done," she says of Obama. "And on the other side, you have the Republicans just fighting with each other essentially for at least another month. So I think at this moment in time that could color these poll numbers."
Once the GOP selects their nominee, those independent voters may well decide to drift back to the GOP.
"With so many factors, including the economy, we're still a long way out from November. It's going to take some time for that to come into focus," she says.
Doherty notes that the Republican race has been characterized by volatility. "If you look at the history of this race, change has been the only constant," he says. "They're the key voting bloc and the opinion among independent voters is particularly fluid at this stage in a campaign where it's relatively early. They are still very much up for grabs."
Read the latest political news.
- If American Manufacturers Keep Jobs, So Does Obama
- GOP Will Lose in 2012 if Social Issues Take Center Stage
- Why Looks Are Everything in a Presidential Election
- Swing Voters Need a Champion
- Good Businessmen Rarely Make Good Presidents
- Un-Presidential Primaries
- Inside Rick Santorum's Head
- Improving Economy Driving Independents Back to Obama
- The Federal Budget Is a Myth
- Don't Expect Too Much of the Next US President
- There's Still Potential for Palin Presidency
- Understanding the Real Mitt Romney
- A Pointed Comment on Ronald Reagan's Legacy
- Tim Tebow: Public Faith vs Private Faith
- Distorting Civil Rights History
- Obama Campaign: We'll Win Largest Latino Vote Percentage Ever
- Could High Gas Prices Hurt Obama's Reelection Campaign?
- Now the Santorum Option
- The GOP Race Gets Messy
- Buyer's Remorse Already?
- Mitt Romney is Dangerously Naive on Foreign Policy
- Concerning the Poor and Mitt Romney
- For Worse or For Worst, Guns Rule
- The Donald Backs The Mitt
- The Case for Mitt Romney
- Romney Running Against Economic Recovery
- Ron Paul's Appealing to Mormons
- Playing with Fire
- Profiting from the Pentagon
- Super PACs: Hypocrisy and Necessity
- The Sad Spectacle of Obama's Super PAC
- Obama Has It Right on Birth Control
- Save the Babies
- Republicans Enjoy the Health Care They'd Deny to the Rest
- War Through Weakness?
- Liberals are the True Aggressors in Culture Wars
- Nearing a Decision on Iran
- Newt Gingrich's Alinsky Claims Miss Their Mark
- Newt Gingrich's Secret Alinsky Love
- The un-Obama
- The President's 'Social Gospel'
- War Against Mexican Drug Cartels Needs New Focus
- Globalizing Private Sector, Government Overwhelmed by Corporate Money
- America's Constitutional Paralysis
- When It Comes to Taxes, No One Has Defined 'Fair'
- Mitt Romney is the Type Americans Want to Empower Economically
- A Flat Tax Is the Answer
- Punishing the Rich Is a Mistake
- Increase Capital Gains Tax, Decrease Corporate Tax
- Warren Buffett Is Right
- Europe Needs a Marshall Plan
- World Views: Niall Ferguson Interview
- Wealthy Tax Cheats
- The 1 Percent Candidate
- Larry Sabato Warns of Electoral 'Newt-Mare'
- The Hottest TV Drama in 2012
- Trailing Newt Gingrich Makes Plea for Votes
- Newt Gingrich Looks For Winning Strategy
- Eisenhower's 'Military-Industrial Complex' and JFK's Inaugural
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Those Who Hated Him
- Do All the GOP Debates Matter?
- Will Dems Call New Tax Law 'The Romney Rule?'
- 'Buffett Rule' Could Create Unintended Consequences
- Why Swing State Republican Governors Will Get Obama Re-Elected
- State of the Union Speech Focuses on Middle Class Success
- Will Obama's Mortgage Refinance Plan Be D.O.A.?
- State of the Union Shows Few Opportunities for Congressional Action
- Obama Uses State of the Union Speech to Rebuff GOP Attacks
- Obama Channels Clinton in State of the Union
- Obama Crafted a Winning Message
- Winning Words, But Not a Winner
- Obama's Speech Will Be Forgotten
- State of the Union Was Typical for Election Year
- Obama's State of the Union Failed
- Incumbents Have History on Their Side
- Obama's Side of the Nation's Story
- Justice John Paul Stevens on How the Supreme Court Works
- There Is a Judicial Confirmation Crisis and the GOP Is Causing It
Pentagon Budget Ends Post-9/11 Era:
Ushers in Pacific Era
- Senator Puts Nuclear Arsenal in Doubt
- Management Tips Mitt Romney Can Use to Save His Campaign
- Rick Santorum's New Target: Gingrich's Reagan Credentials
- GOP Not As Split as the Media Wants You to Think
- Primary Primer: 5 Things to Know about Florida
- On Courting Public Sentiment
- Ike's Lessons for Obama
- Bill Clinton Says Gingrich 'Just Like Romney'
- Newt Gingrich: Buying Our Future
- The Off-the-Radar Congressional Targets of 2012
- Green Energy Investments Pay Off in the Long Run
- Investment in Clean Energy Production Is a Must
- It's Up to the Private Sector to Invest in New Technology
- Competition, Not Handouts, Should Determine Role of Green Energy
- Government Has a History Supporting Emerging Industries
- Green Energy Dramatically Benefits the Nation
- Subsidies for Green Energy Do Not Help American Consumers
- Super PACs: Destroy Our Future
- Super PACs: Super-sized Influence, Super Lack of Transparency
- Super PACs Are a Form of Political Participation
- Super PACs Need to Disclose Political Activity
- Super PACs Engage in More Positive Than Negative Messaging
- Super PACs Enhance Democracy
- Super PACs Make It Harder for Average Americans to be Heard
- Super PACs Level the Playing Field
- Super PACs Promote Attack Ads and Special Interests
- Dollar Democracy
- 2012 Election Will Decide Which New Wars Will Be Waged
- Why 2012 Will Be Obama-Clinton vs Romney-Rubio
- Revenge of the Internet Nerds
- The Decline of Public Good
- We Must Reignite America's Can-Do Spirit
Free Enterprise on Trial:
Who Bears the Risks?
- Mitt Romney Goes on the Offensive
- Bain Capitalism
- How a Populist Obama Can Win
- Obama: A Question of Priorities
- Newtzilla Conquers All?
- Gingrich Follows GOP Playbook on Racism
- Newt Gingrich as Insurgent
- Newt Gingrich: It's Complicated
- Gingrich and The Politics of Division
- Ron Paul: The Great Contrarian
- Ron Paul and Louis Farrakhan - Birds of a Feather?
- Ron Paul's Kooky Moment
- Ron Paul: Foolish Consistency or Just Foolishness?
- Trying to Stop Mitt Romney
- Mitt Romney's Authenticity Problem
- Romney's Big Problem: Hispanic Voters
- Romney's Lies: Mitt Romney Has a Truth Problem
- Romney's Wealth and Influence on the Campaign Trail
- Mitt Romney: Electability vs Likability
- Romney's Backward Views on States Rights
- Mitt Romney Must Win Battle of the Bloat
- Mitt Romney: People Inc.
- The Luck of Mitt Romney
- Romney's 'Mormon Question'
- Would Today's GOP Elect Ronald Reagan?
- Defense Spending: A Shovel-Ready Investment
- Don't Die Stupid
- Three Conservative Victories
- Not By Sight, But By Faith
- To Spur Economy, United States Must Reform Legal Immigration
- Five Reasons Rick Perry Failed
- Overthrow Wall Street
- Civilization in Reverse
- Momentum of Cynicism
- China's JFK moment
Improving Economy Driving Independents Back to Obama | Politics
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services