Annnnnny day now.
Quinnipiac’s polled this question repeatedly and their numbers are strikingly static too:
I’ve always assumed that the flatness of this data is due to people reserving judgment on O’s economic record for as long as they can. They like him personally and want to give him the benefit of the doubt so they’re waiting to see if he might yet still have a few bonanza jobs reports up his sleeve. But now I don’t know. The May jobs report was so awful and the prognosis for the rest of the year so grim that I figured we’d see some movement in this metric this time. Nope.
Either voters are willing to give him until the bitter end to show progress — the suspense is already mounting for the October jobs report — or the “who’s more blameworthy?” question doesn’t mean as much as I thought. Bruce McQuain at Q&O thinks it’s a big barrel of nothing, in fact, that voters don’t care whether Bush or Obama made more of this mess but whether Romney or Obama is best able to clean it up. Could be, but that’s not the sort of election that the GOP wants. They want a pure referendum on the economy’s performance during O’s term, not a choice between whether Mitt or The One is a better repairman. Remember, while independents are deeply skeptical of Obama’s economic plans, they’re not crazy about Romney’s either. And implicit in the judgment that the state of the economy is still the prior president’s fault fully three and a half years after he left office is the idea that he and the financial crisis left America in a hole so deep that it’s not fair to fault Obama for failing to dig us out of it. If a head coach leaves the team after it finishes 0-16 and his replacement manages to finish 4-12, does the replacement get hired for the next season? Yeah, possibly, because some fans will conclude that while his record was under .500, he inherited a disaster and showed just enough progress that it’s worth seeing if he can build on it. That, in a nutshell, is O’s argument for a second term. Team America still reeks economically but we’re playing slightly better, so why not let coach have another season to see what he can do? It’s not like Romney is Bill Parcells, a superstar free-agent coach with multiple rings. He’s more like … Dick Vermeil or something. (Analogies involving terrible football teams come naturally to a Jets fan.)