Obama in “decent shape” for 2012 in Georgia in one of first major polls

I have no plans to turn this blog into a forum for the weekly political winds, but the latest release from Public Policy Polling — “Obama in decent shape in Georgia” — struck me as interesting for a variety of reasons.

I’ve read a couple of conservative sites that have expressed indignation to varying degrees that anyone would dare think that Obama could have a chance of winning Georgia in 2012.

And I don’t think Obama will win Georgia either.

I did however think that he had a strong chance in 2008; Larry Peterson in the Savannah Morning News even cited some of my data projections in a column before the general election. Obama ultimately lost to McCain 52.2% to 47%, and one is left only to speculate if things might have been different if the Obama campaign had worked harder to win the state. My guess is, that for all the current rhetoric, the 2012 Obama campaign will back off from Georgia again, mainly because they will see a clear path to victory without Georgia.

I have many conservative friends who I’m sure find such talk absurd, but the numbers are pretty clear — Obama will likely get at least 45% of the vote, no matter the field. Threatened with a potential reversal of health care legislation, even some jaded Obama voters will return to vote for him. I think some economic moderates and conservatives might even be more likely to vote for Obama in 2012 than in 2008, if he lays out — as I suspect he will — a viable blueprint for reining in entitlement spending. When Obama took office, I foresaw nothing but doom and gloom for the economy and felt certain of a double dip recession no matter what policy makers did, but the Obama economic team and the Fed have done a better job — a much better one as far as I’m concerned — than the general population has given them credit for. Things were terrible when Obama took office, and getting worse; now things are just bad, and getting better. We’ll see if those trends continue. I’ll have a lot more to say about some of these issues, especially entitlement spending, in an upcoming post.

Most importantly in terms of electoral politics — and this is a key factor to remember — Georgia’s black and Latino populations are increasing faster than the white population. That’s a demographic shift that seems likely to bring any number of states into play for Democrats in upcoming national elections — in 2016 and 2020 if not in 2012. If the Republican Party does not make a more effective case to minority voters, they could be looking at declining power at just about every level. Also, it’s worth adding that Obama’s approval rating is pretty good (52%) with voters under 65 in Georgia, while it’s terrible (27%) with those over 65.

For more discussion of the PPP poll, take a look at Jim Galloway here and Peach Pundit here. Btw, much of the press regarding the poll has been focused on the bad signs in the data for Georgia native Newt Gingrich, whose popularity in the state is just below 40%.

2 comments for “Obama in “decent shape” for 2012 in Georgia in one of first major polls

  1. Brother Logan
    April 6, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Solid column with some valid insights. What is missing when speaking of the economy is the spector of inflation. Bernanke & Co stated they desire to see an ‘slight increase of 2%’. Unfortunately for middle & lower America, there is no controling inflation as it is not a ‘friendly fire’; once started it tends to rage out of control. We saw this happen under Carter and many of the economic indicators point in that direction. Cotton has been trading 100% over it’s historical peak which was set during the Civil War. Wheat, corn, soybean….all are over 25-30% of norm with no ceiling in sight. Prices are going up and wages are stagnant and have been for nearly 10 years. There is nothing to indicate that wages will be increasing anytime soon. Nafta allowed the US based companies to export our manufacturing base to cheaper 3rd world labor and there it will stay. That also allows those companies to park their revenue overseas and park it/invest it in those economies-not ours.There is no easy or pat answer to any of these but the first is to reign in spending and approach our future with a true plan to control the deficit.

    • bill dawers
      April 6, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      Thanks Brother. So far the Fed officials seem in pretty broad agreement that inflation will remain subdued for multiple reasons, but it’s tricky, and you’re right about those commodity prices. Higher gas prices seem to me the really big danger for inflation — and on the of the biggest threats to the fragile recovery — and food could also hammer the poor especially if we see even moderate inflation. Given the weakness of the labor market, on the other hand, it’s really hard to see any demands for dramatic pay increases (I think we could see several years of workers willing to let their wages continue to stagnate or decline), which could also mean that disinflation and deflation are also still possibilities. It’s a tricky, tricky balancing act — I remember friends of mine 2 1/2 years ago who were convinced that runaway inflation is right around the corner (i.e., now) with Obama and the Fed’s stimulative policies. They were obviously wrong, but that doesn’t mean that such fears are unfounded now. We have to figure out that health care spending asap. There was a great piece in the NYT by David Leonhardt about how economically untenable it is to tackle Medicare spending but to totally exempt everyone over 55, since those very couples will end up costing on average something like $300,000 more in Medicare spending than they put into the program (that’s even adjust 2% per year). Social security is less tricky to fix, though all the fixes are politically extremely unpopular, and I don’t know if the average American (or politician) is ready yet to embrace defense cuts. I hope to write more about all this soon and of course welcome your input.

Comments are closed.