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Americans Overwhelmingly Believe Obama Will Win Re-election – Could This Be A Problem?

May 18, 2012

In a recent Gallup poll, 56% of Americans say they believe President Obama will be re-elected in November (versus 36% who believe Mitt Romney will win.)

The results are based on a May 10-13 USA Today/Gallup poll. The poll was conducted at a time when U.S. registered voters are evenly divided in their vote preferences. Gallup’s latest Daily tracking update, based on May 8-14 interviewing, shows 46% of voters preferring Obama and 45% Romney. (Gallup)

Pretty impressive, I’d say – especially considering the current state of the economy. Still, I think this simply bolsters my view that the conventional wisdom of the economy and presidential reelection is not going to hold this year. While the public still very much feels we’re still in recession, the fact that what recovery we have had has gone almost exclusively to the top 1% has not escaped them, either. And while we would normally see a president take a huge hit for such a laggard economy, this seems to be blunted by who Mitt Romney is. Poor economy or not, the public seems to believe that Romney lacks empathy for the middle class and would pursue policies to benefit the 1%. Also, policies aside, Barack Obama remains personally popular – he’s a likable guy. Mitt Romney? Well, he seems nice — but that’s about it.

Still, despite the impressive numbers, I wonder if this is not something which should cause concern. If people who would otherwise get out and vote for Obama believe he’s got this thing locked up, will they be more inclined to stay home? Could this kind of confidence turn out to be an obstacle to getting out the vote? What do you think?

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