Swing State Pres

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Obama Survives (For Now) a Tough Month, Doubtless Buoyed By an Improving “Econometer” (June 9, 2013)

There is no doubt that President Obama did not have a particularly easy month (see: www.borntorunthenumbers.com/2013/06/may-month-in-review-obama-easily.html).  But he survived a month full of controversies – the “new” Benghazi testimony, the IRS Tea Party targeting flap and the Justice Department grab of AP reporters’ phone logs – with only small scratches.  Whether that modest damage continues or deepens remains to be seen, especially given even newer revelations that the U.S. Government has been accessing phone records of all Americans for anti-terrorist purposes.  (Personally, I doubt that the latter will take off as an issue, given broad-based Congressional support for it for years, thus taking any partisan element out of the issue.)

ECONOMETER

Certainly Obama has been helped by a slew of good economic news, as evidenced by a surge in the Econometer last month to +24.6.  Remember, the Econometer measures how the economy has moved since Election Day, and is designed to answer Ronald Reagan’s old question:  “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”  A positive (blue) Econometer indicates the answer to that question is “Yes” and will thus be a boon to the incumbent party, the Democrats, come 2014.

Today each measure in the Econometer (except GDP) is better than it was on Election Day, and the “numbers behind the numbers” show strength in the housing sector, automotive sales, etc., all indicative of a continued recovery, albeit a relatively slow one.

Econometer
7-Nov

8-Mar
8-Apr
8-May
8-Jun
Econometer
0.0

0.6
-1.6
13.5
24.6
  Unemployment Rate
7.9

7.7
7.6
7.5
7.6
  Consumer Confidence
73.1

68.0
59.7
68.1
76.2
  Price of Gas
3.71

3.79
3.75
3.62
3.70
  Dow Jones
    13,330

    14,054
    14,520
    14,747
    15,230
  GDP
3.1

0.4
0.4
2.5
2.5

OBAMA APPROVAL RATING

Obama’s approval rating took a nearly three-point dip in the month, though his negatives did not rise, indicating that some lukewarm Obama supporters moved into the “don’t know” category, doubtless waiting to see if more shoes drop on any of the controversies in Republican-led Congressional hearings and the like.

Obama Approval Rating
7-Nov

8-Mar
8-Apr
8-May
8-Jun
  Approve
49.6

50.1
49.0
50.8
48.0
  Disapprove
47.4

45.0
46.7
47.8
47.1
  Net
2.2

5.0
2.3
3.0
1.0

GENERIC CONGRESSIONAL BALLOT

The Democrats’ margin over the Republicans in the “generic ballot” for Congress has narrowed to +2.0 points.  Clearly the economic news is not helping incumbent Congressional Democrats as much as one might have thought.  But they remain ahead which bodes well for the Democrats’ continued resurgence in 2014 (building on the gains of 2012) if those trends continue.

Generic Congressional Ballot
7-Nov

8-Mar
8-Apr
8-May
8-Jun
  Democrat
46.3

42.8
43.8
40.7
42.0
  Republican
46.0

38.5
38.0
38.3
40.0
  Net
0.3

4.3
5.8
2.4
2.0

PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE POLLING

The polling firm PPP had a new Presidential poll in May, shortly after the new Benghazi testimony, and clearly Democrats are not terribly bothered by any of the revelations vis-à-vis Hillary Clinton, who remains by far the leader in the field.  The nomination is hers to have, and I can’t see anything damaging her position, as she lays lows and contemplates her decision.  It is an amazingly consequential decision – it is not an understatement to say that whether Hillary runs or not will deeply influence the course of the first half of this century.

Presidential Preference - Dem.
7-Dec

8-Mar
8-Apr
8-May
8-Jun
  Clinton
61

58
64
64
63
  Biden
12

19
18
18
13
  Cuomo
5

3
3
3
4
  Warren
4

8
5
5
3

Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan each lost a chunk of their support this month…modest changes perhaps but this Republican field – a very strong one, far stronger than 2012 – is wide open.  Jeb Bush seems to have recovered after a difficult entrance on the national stage, and Chris Christie and Rand Paul remain well in the hunt.

Presidential Preference - Repub.
7-Dec

8-Mar
8-Apr
8-May
8-Jun
  Rubio
18

22
20
20
16
  Christie
14

13
15
15
15
  Bush, Jeb
12

13
11
11
15
  Paul, Rand
7

10
16
16
14
  Ryan
12

15
15
15
9

Hillary expanded her head-to-head lead over nominal frontrunner Rubio, and holds similar leads over all of her major Republican foes save Chris Christie.

Christie is an absolutely fascinating politician to watch.  I’ll have more to say next month on his quick calculations in calling for a Special Election in October for the New Jersey Senate seat vacated due to the death of Frank Lautenberg.  But suffice to say Christie is quite nimble for a man of his temperament.

Head-to-Head
7-Nov
8-Mar
8-Apr
8-May
8-Jun
  Clinton
n/a
49
49
49
51
  Rubio
n/a
41
42
42
41






  Clinton
n/a
46
46
46
47
  Christie
n/a
42
42
42
44

NET FAVORABILITY

Hillary’s net favorability took a bit of a bump over Benghazi, but all the Democrats took their lumps this month, including Joe Biden.  This data is among Democratic voters.

Net Favorability - Dem. (among Dems)
7-Dec

8-Mar
8-Apr
8-May
8-Jun
  Clinton
76

69
79
79
69
  Biden
66

67
62
62
55
  Warren
33

40
25
25
23
  Cuomo
16

20
22
22
15

Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio took their lumps as well in net favorability, reinforcing the tightening of the Republican field.  Christie’s tightrope walk is riveting, as these net favorability numbers show:  he is the best candidate the GOP can put forward to challenge Hillary or beat Biden, but can he survive his own primary against this field with these net favorability numbers?

Net Favorability - Repub. (Among Repubs)
7-Dec

8-Mar
8-Apr
8-May
8-Jun
  Ryan
59

69
62
62
47
  Rubio
51

47
43
43
35
  Paul, Rand
31

48
39
39
40
  Bush, Jeb
49

47
33
33
42
  Christie
21

15
9
9
14


Hillary may be able to lay low until early 2015 or so, but Chris Christie and his Republican counterparts (except Jeb Bush) all are in office and will be building on their records in difficult times.  How they maneuver through the dichotomy within their party at a time of Tea Party diminishment will be fascinating in the run-up to 2016.

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