Forty-nine percent of registered voters said they would choose Romney over Obama if the election were held today, compared to 46 who would reelect Obama, the poll found. While that lead was small enough to be considered within the margin of error, the pair are still tied at 47 percent among all Americans.
The president’s political weakness appears to be driven by Americans’ dissatisfaction over the state of the economy. On Monday, veteran Democratic strategist James Carville warned the president’s reelection could be “very rough” if job growth doesn’t rebound. And to that end, dissatisfaction with Obama’s handling of the economy and the federal budget deficit is at an all-time high in the ABC/Post poll.
And no one expects job growth to rebound, and nothing is being done to support such a rebound. The President decided a little over a year ago to join the Republicans in making the deficit a priority, and worse, a larger priority than job creation. Except that while people claim they care about the deficit, they care far more about their own jobs and families. Paul Krugman said as much a long while back. Fix the economy, Krugman said, and people will vote for you regardless of the deficit. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to get the deficit under control, it does mean, however, that you don’t make it your number one priority when the economy is still just shy of another recession.
I suspect the President still has “faith” that the economy will rebound on its own. It’s the reason, I’m told, that he didn’t push for a bigger stimulus – his advisers told him the economy would rebound sooner than it has, so a larger stimulus wasn’t needed. And if you still believe that the economy is on its way back, any day now, you might choose to focus on the deficit instead. Sadly, the only people who believe that are Republicans and quite possibly the President himself.