Green Room

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Voters

posted at 6:29 pm on January 14, 2010 by

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

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Of course BamBam and his man-Child naivete hasn’t been too popular on the world stage lately.

tarpon on January 14, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Tarpon, I’m not so sure…..

That Chinese Gay Man of the Year title is still open as is the Preakness.

Robert17 on January 14, 2010 at 8:33 PM

Hmmmm…. I don’t know about us already knowing about some Republican figure to come and lead us from the wilderness. How well known was Bill Clinton or even Obama before they began their run….. not well at all. And I came across this guy a couple of months ago and if he wins his race in Fla 22 ….and if he does not misstep he will be someone who will be getting looked at by the base. Not in 12 but I suspect someday . I’m sure you’ve heard of him and perhaps even seen his Vids, if not google them up ….. RED MEAT and dead solid perfect on the money

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/017/341xlrau.asp?pg=1

Aggie95 on January 14, 2010 at 10:32 PM

(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.)

Ronald Reagan may have been one of America’s best-known political figures, but in 1980 he wasn’t close to (or close to being viewed as) a juggernaut candidate, nor was he even exceptionally popular in his own party. He was widely seen as old and past his time. I interviewed Democrat strategists at the time who laughed at the prospect of his nomination, and relished the idea of running against him. He lost the first primary. But his fortunes changed in a quirky moment in a New Hampshire debate.

And did anybody know much about an obscure state congressman named “Barack Obama” in 2006? If they did, it was a lot less than a lot more people knew about Reagan in 1978.

Yes, Obama will be crushed by a Reagan-like candidate in 2012.

rrpjr on January 14, 2010 at 10:47 PM

‘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.’

There is always the posibility that he could join the U.N. as a representative from Kenya….

percysunshine on January 15, 2010 at 8:07 AM

(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….)

We do. Don’t you?

joe_doufu on January 15, 2010 at 12:35 PM

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

There is another alternative. He could qualify by becoming, at a stroke, the hero of the Birther movement.

curved space on January 15, 2010 at 2:22 PM

We do. Don’t you?
joe_doufu on January 15, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Very nice.

rrpjr on January 15, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Folks:

I’m afraid I didn’t make clear what I meant by a “Ronald Reagan.” Neither Bill Clinton nor even Barack Obama qualifies, as neither steamrolled to victory. (Clinton didn’t even get a majority… either time!)

Rrpjr:

Huh, I knew Reagan was going to cream Jimmy Carter — and I wasn’t even a Reagan supporter then. (I didn’t like Carter, either; and I despised Walter Mondale, mostly because of his visceral hatred of the space program and especially the SDI.)

It was utterly clear to everyone I knew at the time (mostly lefties, though I was never one) that Reagan was the juggernaut that could not be stopped. He was the Eisenhower and the FDR of the 1980s.

Barack Obama beat John McCain by only six points and 192 electoral votes; but Reagan beat Carter by nearly ten points and 440 electoral votes (Carter took only six states; McCain took 22). The elections are not at all equivalent victories.

Reagan was the proverbial irresistable force; he almost unseated sitting President Gerald Ford as the Republican nominee in 1976. By contrast, Obama got lucky with a sudden economic downturn (all right, a downturn that suddenly became obvious a month and a half before the election)… else the race would have been razor-close, the third such in a row. McCain might even have won.

Even if Obama continues to drop in the polls, there is no Republican on the horizon today that can do to Obama what Roosevelt did to Hoover, or Eisenhower did to Stevenson (twice), or what Reagan did to Mr. Peanut. Obama might lose substantially, but he’ll take more than six states no matter what (unless he doesn’t run).

Dafydd

Dafydd ab Hugh on January 15, 2010 at 11:42 PM

(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 could do one of three things; 1) have to get the General Assembly to vote an exception to that rule — easily done, if they want him anyway — or else 2) he would have to give up the United States’ veto in the U.N., or 3) assert the primacy of his Kenyan citizenship. I have the terrible feeling he may seek the latter as being more desirable in any event…)

FIFY. Regardless of what he does vis a vis the UN, the sweet justice is when We The People expel the UN from our shores and at best pay “tribute” on a per capital basis proportionate to the average share that the rest of the world pays — if any at all.

AH_C on January 16, 2010 at 4:32 PM