Obama re-election favored, UGA expert says

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Odds are that President Obama will win a second term if the economy continues to improve, but he and Republicans both have factors working in their favor, according to a University of Georgia political scientist.

When the unemployment rate topped 9 percent last year, “it was accepted that Obama had virtually no chance to be re-elected,” UGA professor Charles Bullock said.

Now, the national unemployment rate is 8.3 percent and dropping.

If it falls below 8 percent by Labor Day, voters probably will re-elect Obama, Bullock said.

“If people see things are getting better, they’ll give Obama another term,” he said.

Bullock gave the keynote speech Monday at a UGA Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities symposium, a gathering for top undergraduate scholars to present papers. He identified a number of factors that will determine who wins the presidency.

Three out of four presidents who presided over spiking gas prices lost re-election, so high gas prices are a political problem for Obama, Bullock said.

“That’s something you see every day,” he said. “You might not know what the unemployment rate is but, by golly, you know how much gas costs between here and home.”

Obama’s 47 percent approval rating also spells trouble for the president, as is the two-thirds of voters who tell pollsters the country is on the wrong track, he said. Harry Truman was the only president to win re-election with an approval rating below 50 percent, Bullock noted; Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush both lost. But like the unemployment rate, those numbers are improving for Obama, he said.

Enthusiasm is another factor. Like 2008, Obama needs strong support from Latinos, African-Americans and young voters, but Bullock said he doesn’t think the latter two groups will turn out in as large numbers as four years ago.

If the Supreme Court strikes down Obama’s controversial 2009 health care reform law, Democrats could make it a rallying cry, while Republicans will lose a campaign issue, Bullock said. The reverse also is true: If the law is upheld, Republicans will appeal to voters to put them in charge so they can repeal it, he said.

Republican candidates have become less popular as they’ve run to the right during the primary season, Bullock said, which boosts Obama’s chances.

“You have to reach out into that middle ground and pick up some of those independents,” he said.

Although Obama is leading all the Republican candidates in national polls, what really matters is the Electoral College, which favors Democrats, Bullock said. Solidly Democratic states give Obama at least 241 electoral votes, while states that favor Republicans supply only 219 of the 270 needed to win.

Obama can get to 270 by pursuing what Bullock called the UGA football strategy — winning in Florida — by winning North Carolina and Virginia again, by winning the Rust Belt states of Ohio and Indiana or by winning the heavily Latino western states of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. Republicans have fewer options and less room for error, he said.

Whether Obama is re-elected also depends on the Republican nominee, Bullock said. Obama is polling slightly ahead of Mitt Romney, does better against Rick Santorum and “beats Newt Gingrich like a rented mule,” he said.

The GOP intentionally stretched out its primary season this year by awarding delegates proportionally in early races, Bullock said. Upcoming states are winner-take-all, which means Romney could quickly sew up the nomination if he wins today’s Washington, D.C., Wisconsin and Maryland primaries, he said.

Romney is winning primarily in urban and suburban areas like Atlanta and Savannah, Bullock said, while Santorum and Gingrich are winning in rural areas. They’re also more popular than Romney among evangelical voters and in the South, he said.

Whoever the eventual nominee is, he’ll put the focus squarely on Obama’s record, Bullock said.

“Voters don’t hire challengers,” he said. “They fire incumbents.”

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stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 04/03/12 - 07:03 am
5
5
The economy has improved? I

The economy has improved? I must have slept through it!

rmwardsr
525
Points
rmwardsr 04/03/12 - 07:35 am
3
9
It's funny,too, how the

It's funny,too, how the unemployment rate dropped so dramatically so fast. Sounds like some funny math somewhere in the mix. I hope the Latino's, who have no business voting, the African-Americans,(not all, just the one's who depend on governent assistance, and that goes for the white population that does also), and most of all, the liberal college students, who do not have a clue what goes on in the real world, do stay at home this year.

seenitB4
90557
Points
seenitB4 04/03/12 - 07:54 am
2
2
Sooo funny....this will be a

Sooo funny....this will be a neck/neck race in my opinion....the reps. have continued to shoot themselves in the foot & elsewhere.....just can't help it can ya....
have mouth will blurt out ....like my elevator to lift my cars....my multi million dollar home in Calif.....GEEEZ....even I could do a better job ..

Romney had better pick an outstanding VPres. to run with him....

Little Lamb
46801
Points
Little Lamb 04/03/12 - 08:04 am
3
5
From The Athens

From The Athens Banner-Herald:

If it [the national unemployment rate] falls below 8 percent by Labor Day, voters probably will re-elect Obama, Bullock said.

What a powerful prediction from this professor Charles Bullock! What a waste of paper, ink, electrons, and disk storage. This prediction is just like the weather predictions from the TV weatherman. There is absolutely no accountability, and no consequence to such a worthless prediction.

seenitB4
90557
Points
seenitB4 04/03/12 - 08:12 am
3
2
Wel LL ya just got a thumbs

Wel LL ya just got a thumbs down...feel better now...

The DEms stand a chance of winning---like it or not...& if the REPS keep messing with a womans uterus...they WILL WIN!

Haki
31
Points
Haki 04/03/12 - 08:34 am
5
7
Obama 2012!

Obama 2012!

Riverman1
86668
Points
Riverman1 04/03/12 - 08:41 am
1
0
LL, ain't that the truth. We

LL, ain't that the truth. We hear that information on cable news shows about every night. This professor needs to dig a little deeper with all the academic tools at his disposal.

seenitB4
90557
Points
seenitB4 04/03/12 - 08:48 am
6
1
There is more going on in

There is more going on in this biiig wide world guys.......take your mind out of Dixie & ck out the facts.....it will be close..

The female vote is moving toward the DEMS

Riverman1
86668
Points
Riverman1 04/03/12 - 08:59 am
0
4
Once this crazy primary is

Once this crazy primary is past and Mitt can start concentrating on Obama things will turn around. Then Mitt will be able to dress up again and stop trying to act like an ordinary guy with the blue jeans and bowling. Women will come around.

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 04/03/12 - 09:08 am
4
4
So it is the uterus that will

So it is the uterus that will determine the presidential election? I think you mean the "funny bone", because that's the most appropriate response to that comment.

Are we all better off than we were 3.5 years ago? Don't think so. Can't blame Bush anymore. The problems are all on Obama's head now. No more "blame game".

I expect a close election, with real CHANGE coming in November.

burninater
9680
Points
burninater 04/03/12 - 09:54 am
5
1
Some in the Republican base

Some in the Republican base don't seem to understand how strongly recent Republican talk (and its AM radio proxies) has reinforced the perception that their party views women as a commodity to be regulated.

Nothing motivates voters like making it personal, and little has as much staying power as a grudge. They've reinforced an image problem that will probably not blow over for quite some time.

A major difference between the two parties is that many outspoken Republicans and their supporters are essentially generating lists of purity tests that define "true" Republicans. When was the last time you heard Democrats or their proxies rant about DINOs? The less Republicans accept the fact that most Americans have their own diverse opinions, the less people there are going to be that are willing to squeeze themselves into a rigid, party-defined set of belief requirements.

It's exceptionally ironic that many of the same people that accuse Obama of being a Marxist have adopted the Soviet practice of denunciation to mandate rigid policy behavior.

But hey, with the Ryan budget reinforcing that Medicare is squarely in their sights, their voting base woes should ease up. Seniors never come out in large numbers, right?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 04/03/12 - 09:58 am
1
2
burninater, in case you

burninater, in case you missed it, President Obama thinks you and I are products to be regulated. That was the argument before this little thing called the Supreme Court this week.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 04/03/12 - 10:00 am
2
1
I feel like Larry the Cable

I feel like Larry the Cable Guy...

Only in America can the millions upon millions of people be unemployed, the true unemployment rate be well into the double digits, we devalue the dollar by borrowing trillions, and yet we say the economy is improving.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 04/03/12 - 10:02 am
4
3
Come November Women Will

Come November Women Will Remember

burninater
9680
Points
burninater 04/03/12 - 10:04 am
3
1
II, healthcare costs are a

II, healthcare costs are a problem, and between Medicare and Medicaid, the gov't and we taxpayers are up to the gills in it. My apologies if I don't see where women's health choices should similarly be addressed by gov't regulation. Unfortunately for Republicans, I expect a lot of women voters would agree.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 04/03/12 - 10:06 am
3
1
How are those government

How are those government mandated, medically unnecessary ultrasounds going for ya?

Come November Women Will Remember

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 04/03/12 - 10:24 am
1
1
burninater, you must have

burninater, you must have missed the healthcare arguments this week. The government says it can regulate you because you are part of commerce. If it can do that, there will be no "choice."

bjphysics, what is wrong with informed consent? Do you prefer ignorance? If killing a baby is a good thing, then why insist that no one see it. You should celebrate this "freedom," rather than be afraid of it.

bjphysics
36
Points
bjphysics 04/03/12 - 10:30 am
2
2
Forced = Voluntary Slavery =

Forced = Voluntary
Slavery = Freedom
We’ve always been at war with Eurasia.

Come November Women Will Remember

burninater
9680
Points
burninater 04/03/12 - 10:58 am
1
0
II, the gov't has been

II, the gov't has been regulating all of us since this country started. The Constitution gives Congress to create laws that bind all of us. There is nothing new in this. Even a federal purchasing mandate has precedent.

I'm not trying to change your belief that the individual healthcare mandate is in essence the same as measures that target women's health specifically, both by selectively restricting coverage of pharmaceuticals, and by mandating medical procedures (as bjphysics pointed out). All I'm saying is that it appears that many women voters don't share that view. And by association, many of the men that love those women are going to be backing them at the polls.

The more Republicans appear to move away from tackling fiscal problems (such as escalating healthcare costs) in favor of mandating personal social and religious norms, the less confident much of the moderate majority will be that they are capable of addressing real-world economic challenges. If voters have to choose between a President overseeing a rough recovery and a party that had "more important" things to do, the latter is creating a problem for itself.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 04/03/12 - 11:03 am
0
0
Come November, mothers,

Come November, mothers, fathers and children will remember.

Warnin
19
Points
Warnin 04/03/12 - 11:10 am
0
0
Even the most stupid among us
Unpublished

Even the most stupid among us recognize that polls are totally worthless. I remember the pundits talking the day before Regan was elected that it was going to be a really tight election. I don't think Carter even won Georgia, and it was the biggest landslide in30 years. The fact is that these people know nothing, but feel compelled to prognosticate. I wonder if any of them would be willing to bet their job on it or even attach their name to it! Obama will be fired, period!

breakawa
1
Points
breakawa 04/03/12 - 12:00 pm
0
0
I don't follow Bullock's

I don't follow Bullock's logic on the high court and Obamacare. Polls show that a solid majority oppose Obamacare. Bullock says that if the law stands, that would benefit Republicans, who have vowed to vote to overturn it if they win a congressional majority. That's consistent with the poll numbers. But he says if the court strikes the law down, it would benefit the Democrats. If most Americans oppose the law, it seems they would applaud a ruling negating it.

burninater
9680
Points
burninater 04/03/12 - 12:11 pm
0
0
breakawa, his point is that

breakawa, his point is that if Obamacare is struck down, Republicans can no longer run on the position that they have to be elected to have it repealed.

FLIPPED OUT
33
Points
FLIPPED OUT 04/03/12 - 01:04 pm
0
0
And just what have you been

And just what have you been drinking?

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 04/03/12 - 02:14 pm
0
1
Well experts seem to think we

Well experts seem to think we will lose all the Solyndra money. This billionaire donates to Obama's election then receives millions is scandalous. Also I think a lot of people are uncomfortable he is so anxious to give terrorist the privilidges of an american citizen yet then orders the execution of an American citizen without due process-what a hypocrite. The economy maybe improving but it is a difficult argument to make that he is responsible. In fact you could make the argument it is improving despite his actions. Remember too all this is Bush's fault so it only seems fair to give him credit for anything good that happened of late as well. hee,hee,hee Touche' His economic policy still has high REAL unemployment-not the fake numbers, his energy policy still hasn't provided clean, green energy and we have the highest gas prices ever, diplomatic policy has produced little return and we are still in Afghanistan. It has been a lot of Bush lite too so why don't people complain about how he has extended similar policies. People were complacent and allowed Bush eight years so I think people maybe fearful of a similar return in trust with Obama and a similar disastrous outcome that could be possible. We may get a lot of one term president for a while because of this concern. Nobody trust anybody. Lastly, the majority of Americans do not want Obamacare. Now either this reflect both Rep and Dems are discontent or you that translates to majority landslide against Obama. Either way Obamacare is a losing proposition for Obama, regardless of the SCOTUS outcome-Obamacare if implemented will kill the Dem party.

Bouganvillea
0
Points
Bouganvillea 04/03/12 - 02:11 pm
2
0
Dr Bullock is right, unless
Unpublished

Dr Bullock is right, unless some big scandal occurs or unless the economy takes a big turn for the worse, Obama will get re-elected to a 2nd term. The GOP is doing very poorly in key swing states.

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 04/03/12 - 02:36 pm
0
1
A majority of Americans

A majority of Americans believe racism is still widespread by a majority (yeah I know). So wouldn't that preclude Obama's likely re-election, because racist America can't tolerate such as that? See where that lunacy takes you.
When Santorum can meet or beat Obama face to face in certain polls is an unbelievably clear picture that Obama's chances aren't as good as some think. Santorum ?????you gotta be kiddin me. The silver lining for the GOP will be that if Obama is re-elected then likely both houses of Congress will fall to the Rep to balance the power-effectively making him a lame duck president his second term. People really hate the Congress and (yes while they hate Rep too at least they see Rep are working unlike the Dem controlled Senate) and polls show people loathe Harry Reid.

SAPCS
35
Points
SAPCS 04/03/12 - 02:42 pm
1
0
Obama will be re-elected

Obama will be re-elected because the best candidates we could find are a religious zealot, an adulterer and a nut job, respectively. I will allow you to decide to whom the titles should be assigned.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 04/03/12 - 02:52 pm
0
0
Thank God for obama. Gas
Unpublished

Thank God for obama. Gas prices have dropped to record lows. Thank ya, massa.

Bizkit
32828
Points
Bizkit 04/03/12 - 03:05 pm
2
0
Well the choices are

Well the choices are progressive ideological zealot, religious zealot, an adulterer (maybe we should go with curtain C because Clinton was one too), and a nut job. Tough choice but the nutjob and adulterer sound promising. The zealots are out.

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