It’s also now taken as received wisdom that Republicans are unenthusiastic about their candidates, but evidence suggests otherwise. In the Aug. 18-22 Associated Press poll, 64% of Republicans said they were “satisfied” with the GOP field, up from 52% in June. The Sept. 25-27 Fox News poll found 63% of Republicans “impressed” with their choices, up from 44% in April. By comparison, in a mid-October 1991 CBS/New York Times poll, only 18% of Democrats were “satisfied” with their field and 64% wanted someone else to enter the race. And we know how the 1992 contest turned out.
Bad economic news and GOP enthusiasm mean increasingly that the president’s re-election hopes depend on an exceptionally weak Republican running an unusually bad campaign. The warning to Mr. Obama is this: It’s always better not to depend on your opponent making big mistakes.