Does President Obama need to shore up the liberal base? That’s what John Fund argues in today’s WSJ:
But Mr. Obama’s tone makes more sense when one realizes that his sinking poll numbers also indicate an erosion in support with his liberal base. Only about three-quarters of self-identified liberals approve of his job performance, a number that has drifted downward since Mr. Obama compromised on tax cuts and decided to keep Guantanamo open. His latest budget deal with House Republicans only further confused his base. “I have been very disappointed in the administration to the point where I’m embarrassed that I endorsed him,” one senior Democratic lawmaker told the Daily Beast last week.
It seems likely, especially given the next graf:
Mr. Obama is also hurting with another key element of his coalition: Hispanics. His job approval with them is now only 54% in the latest Gallup poll, down from 73% two years ago. Similarly, voters under the age of 30 give him a tepid 55% approval rating.
Obama’s problem with his base isn’t that he might face a serious primary challenger next year. That’s the case Roger Simon (not our Roger Simon) made over at Politico last week — but it’s just silly. Primary challengers almost never win. Primary challengers short on money and winning electoral experience, up against someone who has both and the minority vote locked up in a party heavy with minorities… fuggidaboudit. Howard Dean’s next stop would be oblivion, not the nomination.
No, Obama isn’t worried about a primary challenger; he’s worried about dispirited liberals and progs staying home on November 6 for the general election. But there’s another problem: It’s the middle of the electorate that will determine the outcome of the race. How much propping up can the President do to his left before completely alienating the middle?
That’s a tough tightrope act for anyone, and the best chance it has for winning is the GOP nominating a real loser. Which is probably why the smart money is still on Obama.