That last jobs report was awfully bad.
Gallup typically uses this question format when a president is seeking re-election but his likely opponent is unknown, as was the case in 1991-1992 and 2003-2004, when incumbents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, respectively, were seeking re-election.
The elder Bush held large leads over his generic Democratic opponent throughout 1991, but early 1992 preferences were more evenly divided and Bush eventually lost his re-election bid. The younger Bush also consistently maintained at least a small advantage over the Democrat throughout 2003, before winning re-election in a close contest in November 2004…
Both Bushes had higher job approval ratings in the year before their re-election contests than Obama does now, helping explain why Obama has fared less well on the generic ballot in the year prior to the election year. George H.W. Bush’s approval rating in July 1991 averaged 71%, while George W. Bush’s July 2003 average was 60%. Obama’s latest weekly average is 46%.
Two months ago, after his Bin Laden bounce, O led 43/40. In June he dipped and trailed by five points, and today the lead is eight overall and 10 among independents. As the economy lurches, The One slides. I know this morning’s Quinnipiac poll said 54 percent still blame Bush for the recession compared to 27 percent who blame Obama, but that isn’t necessarily inconsistent with what you’re seeing here. Bush got us into this mess, the public believes — and Obama isn’t getting us out. Hard to see these numbers changing much unless/until things turn around. As for the Bush precedents, you can read them in one of two ways. The Democratic “keep hope alive” read: Incumbents are tough to beat unless the economy’s fading, which, hey, it might not be by spring of next year. That’s why Bush 41 lost a giant lead and why Dubya, buoyed by his early war-on-terror decisions, stayed afloat. The Republican “it’s our election to lose” read: Both Bushes were comfortably ahead of their generic opponent throughout most of the year preceding their reelection year. At no point did either trail; to borrow a favorite White House term, The One’s showing here is comparatively unprecedented. Maybe that doesn’t mean squat given that Reagan trailed Mondale by nine in June 1983 before destroying him a year later after the economy rebounded, but Mondale was an obvious Democratic frontrunner at the time so the question wasn’t a pure referendum on the president. Today’s question is. Does that makes Obama’s deficit more or less significant, given that Mondale was a known commodity whereas O hasn’t had a chance to define his opponent yet?
The bad news for America generally and Democratic strategists in particular is that, even according to Peter Orszag, it’s going to be a long time before we see light at the end of this economic tunnel. The good news for Democrats? I’ll let Krauthammer explain. Dirtiest campaign evah. Click the image to watch.