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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

From Hope to Nope

Ronald Reagan was in trouble in the middle of his first term: unemployment was actually worse in late 1982 than at the trough of the recent recession. So does Reagan's 1984 landslide suggest a similar outcome for President Obama? Jay Cost explains that the answer is...Nope.
Note that the dip in jobs during Reagan's tenure happened later than the dip in Obama's tenure, but even so the jobs picture under Reagan at this point in his tenure was already better than it is now with Obama. Note also that job growth exploded from this point forward under Reagan -- there's no reason to expect that during the rest of Obama's term.

How about real disposable income per capita? That's a great metric for answering the question, "Are you better off today than you were four years ago?"

There's no comparison here. Real disposable income per capita was consistently better under Reagan than Obama, and just like jobs, growth in this metric really takes off during Reagan's third year on office. The most recent data for July showed that real disposable income per capita actually declined.
He also explains that the president cannot win on the basis of his major policy innovations because they are very unpopular.
Here's the bottom line: If the current trend continues, this election is not even going to be a close call. If it were held today, the president would lose by maybe 7 or 8 points. The economy stinks. The deficit is out of control. The country hates the president's top domestic achievement. It's darkness in America.
Unless the economy improves big-time, Obama has to hope that the GOP nominates a candidate who is unacceptable to the public, or at least one who is deeply vulnerable to Democratic attacks. Expect a very nasty campaign.