Roundup: Obama’s problems mount

| May 18 2012
Christopher Cook

Things are always in flux in presidential election campaigns. They last a long time (some might argue too long), and the facts on the ground can often change, shiftng the dynamic of the race in unexpected ways.

But right now, everything is trending Mitt Romney’s way, and there are a lot of different reasons why. We listed a number of these yesterday; here are several more:

Romney’s favorables are climbing, and his unfavorables are starting to settle:

Romney Registers Personal Best 50% Favorable Rating

Fifty percent of Americans now have a favorable opinion of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, up from 39% in February and his highest by 10 percentage points. His current 41% unfavorable rating, though, leaves him with a net score of +9, after being at -8 in February. In roughly half of the 28 measurements Gallup has taken of Romney since 2006, more Americans have viewed him negatively than positively.

Trend: Favorable Ratings of Mitt Romney

Obama is at actual risk of losing the Arkansas primary to an unknown:

Obama’s Arkansas Problem

In West Virginia, federal inmate Keith Judd recently swiped 42 percent of Democratic votes from the president, indicating the level of dissatisfaction among the rank and file. And according to a Talk Business–Hendrix College poll conducted on May 10, Obama leads John Wolfe, a virtually unknown candidate, in Arkansas’s 4th congressional district by only 7 points, 45–38.

Three weeks earlier, the Talk Business–Hendrix College poll showed the president leading by 65–24 in the slightly less conservative 1st district, but that was before Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage.

 

Obama’s fundraising is down and off its previous pace; Mitt Romney’s is up and he’s now only $3 million behind for last month:

Romney Raises $40.1 Million in April, Nearly Matching Obama

Mitt Romney almost matched President Obama in fund-raising during April after securing his party’s presidential nomination and joining forces with the Republican National Committee, the campaign will announce on Thursday.

Mr. Romney and the R.N.C. raised $40.1 million in April, just shy of the $43.6 million that Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised for the month.

The contributions on behalf of Mr. Romney represent a huge jump over the $12.6 million that his campaign raised in March. The increase was made possible by donors coalescing around Mr. Romney as the nominee and the larger donations that can be directed to the party, campaign officials said.

“Voters are tired of President Obama’s broken promises,” said Reince Priebus, the chairman of the R.N.C. in a statement. “Mitt Romney has the record and plan to turn our country around – that is why he is receiving such enthusiastic support from voters across the country.”

Aides to Mr. Romney noted that the total might have been even higher if the joint fund-raising effort — known as the “Victory” campaign — had begun sooner. The campaign and the R.N.C. announced they were joining forces on April 4 but did not hold the first combined event until April 14, nearly halfway through the month.

 

A new book, a reportedly brutal indictment of Obama as an “amateur,” narcissistic but lacking both competence and confidence, has been released. Normally, such a book would add to the dialogue but not necessarily be a known-down blow in and of itself. But this book includes devastating quotes from Bill Clinton, who is supposedly campaigning on behalf of Obama:

Stories tumble out that reveal a man who believes he is all but omniscient — unwilling to give any credence to the views of others (especially but not limited to those across the aisle).  Experts in management are interviewed who point out that he lacks essential qualities of leadership.  Indeed, the book gets its title from an outburst from Bill Clinton, who was trying to encourage Hillary to take on Obama in the Democratic primary of 2012:

Obama doesn’t know how to be president. He doesn’t know how the world works. He’s incompetent. He’s…he’s…Barack Obama’s an amateur.

But Klein does not rest there.  He delves into associates from Obama’s career in Cook County politics, his stint as a state senator, and his rise to the United States Senate.  There is a common pattern: Obama likes to campaign, but once he is elected and actually starts working, his interest flags, and he starts looking for the next “big thing” — electorally speaking.

Just the review is chock full of revelations and shocking details; one can only imagine how potent the book is. This book may have a larger influence on the debate and the election than one might expect. If nothing else, it may impact Obama’s personal favorability ratings, which, based on his worthiness for positive personal regard, have always struck me as rather high.
Finally, there’s the flap over the “born in Kenya” element of Obama’s bio. If he was born in Hawaii, as it is assumed he was based on the announcement of his birth in a Hawaii newspaper at the time, then why would his bio say he was born in Kenya? John Hinderaker wonders this aloud at Powerline, and cites a theory by Roger Simon. If it was, as is being theorized in some quarters, an embellishment by Obama, a la Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren, this will cause problems for Obama. It takes the issue of his birth, which has largely been constrained to the edges of mainstream dialogue, and makes it something that any pundit is now free to discuss.
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