Nate Silver’s article in the New York Times on President Obama’s reelection chances looked carefully at three major influences that could determine the outcome in November of 2012 and concluded that the President is a slight underdog: “It is early, and almost no matter what, the election will be a losable one for the Republicans. But Obama’s position is tenuous enough that it might not be a winnable one for him.”
A skilled forecaster, Silver looked at three major factors that he thinks will influence the election: approval ratings, the economy, and the President’s opponent’s ideology. At the moment the President’s negative approval ratings across the spectrum of pollsters doesn’t concern him, and he thinks that even if the economy dips further as many are increasingly predicting, the electorate is suffering from bad news “fatigue,” and more bad news won’t really count for much. When it gets to ideology, however, it is clear that if the President’s opponent can make a strong case against him, then the election is over and the President will lose.
One of the tools the President is using in his bid for reelection is one that Silver failed to consider: his ability to repeat historical myths and lies and count on the electorate’s poor memory and ignorance to accept them as fact. For example, President Obama told a partisan crowd in Washington, D.C., Monday night, “We were able to prevent America from going into a Great Depression.
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