Thursday, April 12, 2012

Obama's not a shoo-in

Watching the clown show that has been the Republican Primary, it is easy to assume that anyone can beat whatever emerges from that.  I mean seriously, who would ever actually vote for Mitt Gekko—except perhaps another Gekko wannabe.   Unfortunately, the incumbent Democratic President is a fan of neoliberal Gekkonomics so is in no position to attack Romney's greatest weakness.

There is a long time before the fall election.  Lots of bad things can happen in that time.  The worst for Obama would be another economic downturn, an insane war with Iran, or a serious climate-related crop failure.

And then there is the little problem that most Americans believe that we are still in a major recession.  Elections are damn tough to win during recessions.

Obama second term ‘in hands of 30 mln unemployed’

11 April, 2012

With around 20 per cent real unemployment, it’s US joblessness that could prove the stumbling block for Obama's second term – not foreign policy issues, says Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, America’s leading company conducting opinion polls worldwide.

RT: What are the dynamics in terms of opinion polls as far as the economy goes, among the American people, the way it was four years ago and the way it is now?

JC: We were going just fine in 2007, first part of 2008, then we crashed down. Now it's coming back a little bit.

RT: Enough to win President Obama the next election?

JC: I don’t think quite yet… According to the Gallup poll, if we vote tonight, Romney will beat him… They are not voting for Romney – they just vote against the president.

RT: What are the main reasons not to vote for the president?

JC: Strictly unemployment. Just one reason. Foreign policy plays no role at all right now.

If something really big happens… that will only make a little bit of a difference. Americans don’t want to hear about foreign policy. They should, but they don’t. Gallup shows real unemployment is close to 20 per cent in America. Not 8.5 but 20 per cent. 30 million people are out of work. 60 per cent of them told Gallup they have no hope of getting a job. That is 18 million.

RT: Do Americans blame the president for that?

JC: There are two questions here. Do I think they should? No. Do they? Yes.

RT: There were two polls conducted in America, not Gallup. In one, the majority said ‘yes’ to war with Iran and in another one the majority said ‘yes’ to diplomacy. What do you think about that?

JC: The wording of the question makes an enormous amount of difference. One thing that we noticed, if you put the word ‘freedom’ or ‘free’ in a question, it really changes its outcome… They call it “free choice act”. Words are very powerful in our questions. If your question is: do you believe the people who are writing the questions can make it come out any way they want? – I would say pretty much so.

RT: What do your polls say about Iran?

JC: Americans are not nearly as war aggressive as we were a few years ago. We have enormous war fatigue. That is not really positive for Iran in the way that Americans believe that Iran has nuclear capabilities, they believe Iran is evil that wants to do bad and all that kind of thing. But Americans really want to take a break from war. more

Americans Agree: There Is No Recovery

April 10, 2012

From the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll:

No matter how you break it down -- whether by party/ideology, household income, age, or any other category -- the majority of Americans agree on one thing: there is no recovery.

Needless to say, those feelings are also shared by a segment of the economy that just happens to provide jobs for over half of the nation's private workforce.

William Dunkelberg, chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Business, says small businesses in the U.S. are "not doing well at all." Dunkelberg talks with Bloomberg's Ken Prewitt and Tom Keene on Bloomberg Radio's "Bloomberg Surveillance."

"Dunkelberg Says Small Business Economy in Recession (Audio)" (Bloomberg) more

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