Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Voters
posted at 6:29 pm on January 14, 2010 by Dafydd ab Hugh
Late last year, Big Lizards ran a post, Will B.O. Run for Reelection? – Obamic Options 006, that even we labeled “strange.” In response to the title question, we wrote:
I predict that, if the Obamacle ponders the race of 2012 and sees a strong Republican contender and only luckwarm support for himself, he will try to cut a deal with the U.N.; current Secretary General Nanki-Poo would retire with all honors… then the General Assembly offers Obama the job.
(A commenter pointed out that the Secretary General cannot be from one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the countries that have veto authority; but that only means Barack H. Obama would either have to get the General Assembly to vote an exception to that rule — easily done, if they want him anyway — or else he would have to give up the United States’ veto in the U.N. I have the terrible feeling he may seek the latter as being more desirable in any event…)
Well, today one of those two criteria eventuated; according to the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll, were the election held today, half (50%) of all voters would vote for Obama’s opponent. Only 39% say they would vote to reelect the president. On the all-important enthusiasm question, 23% say they would “definitely vote to re-elect Obama,” while 37% say they would “definitely vote for someone else.”
That is only half the equation, however; even the Obamacle — who isn’t half as smart as half the people sort of half-think he is — is twice as smart as necessary to know that even a less than popular president can be reelected if he’s up against a scary ideologue or a clodhopper. As yet, there is no real front-runner for the Republican nomination for 2012; so we have no clue whether Obama will face a powerful opponent or luck out with an easily dismissed Barry Goldwater or Blob Dole.
(The other extreme, Obama being crushed by a Ronald Reagan, is virtually impossible; if such a potential candidate existed, we would already know about him or her. Reagan himself didn’t spring like Athena out of Zeus’s brow; he was one of America’s best-known political figures on “la rive droite” ever since 1964.)
The poll seems fairly mainstream on other questions, so I take it seriously. For example, among respondents, 38% voted for Barack Obama in 2008, while 33% voted for John McCain. Dropping all other options, this works out to 53.5% for B.O. and 46.5% for J.M. — virtually identical to the actual vote of 52.9% to 45.7%. Similarly, the self-reported political breakdown among respondents (“generally speaking, do you think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or something else?”) is 25%, 30%, 30%, which is probably right in line with the country. Other answers show a significant drop in support for Obama and his policies over the past year, mirroring other national polls.
The poll is not some weird outlier.
If the One We Have Been Itching to Rethink isn’t looking over his shoulder and starting to sweat, then he’s even more of a monster of vanity, ego, and narcissism than I thought — which would be saying quite a mouthful.
Cross-posted on Big Lizards…