Belmont Club

The Harder They Fall

There have been tantalizing hints that Barack Obama’s support is not nearly as strong as MSM suggests. The Chatanoogan reports that “Chattanooga attorney John Wolfe is giving President Obama a run for his money in Arkansas. A new poll by Talk Business-Hendrix College puts Wolfe just seven points behind the President for the upcoming Democratic primary. The poll was taken last Thursday.”

John who? John whats-his-name will be the second person nobody has ever heard of who is giving President Obama a run for his money in his own party. The other, CBS News reminds us, is “Keith Judd — also known as Inmate No. 11593-051”.

The inmate, currently serving a 210-month sentence for extortion at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana, Texas, not only managed to get on the West Virginia primary ballot, he also managed to win nearly 70,000 votes. That means Judd carried 41 percent of the vote in the Democratic presidential primary, while Mr. Obama took 59 percent.

The meme that the President’s handlers are selling is that “when your name is Barack Obama, it’s always tight.” Obama’s breezy response was in answer to a questions put to him about how close the 2012 elections would be. In other words Obama says he has magic in his hat that makes him dangerous even if he has been floundering in the polls.

But while his fans at ringside are waiting for him to land his haymaker, he is losing on points.  A Gallup poll shows that “55% say the economy would get better over the next four years if Romney was elected, compared with 46% who say it would improve if Obama was re-elected.” That result is confirmed by Rassmussen which shows that “51% of Likely U.S. Voters trust Romney more than Obama when it comes the economy, while 39% trust the president more”.

None of this is to say that the election results in November are now foregone. But these indications of weakness suggest that there are trends afoot, which if not reversed, can spell disaster for Obama. The main problem with Obama is that all the “good news” factors are already discounted into the numbers, whereas the bad news numbers, especially now that Europe is on the brink of a financial disaster, are yet to come. This puts him in a ‘no new income’ profile as far as popularity is concerned.

To extend the boxing analogy, if Kid Obama can’t win against Rumblin’ Romney in the early rounds, he might have a hard time as the fight wears on because his legs aren’t what they used to be.

The estimate of flows is essential to predicting the President’s prospects in November. History teaches that it is easy to become either overconfident or excessively timid based on the appreciation of the delta in an opponents strength. For example, the German Luftwaffe underestimated British production during the Battle of Britain period. So after months of engagement they wrongly believed that the RAF was on the verge of collapse when in fact it was as strong as it was when it started because the real reinforcement rate was higher than they thought.

So who’s winning the battle of the flows? Who’s got momentum?

If the John Wolfe data point is followed by a succession of similar indicators there are real grounds for entertaining the possibility that the wheels are coming off the Obama wagon. Politico reports that Scott Walker signs are being burned in Wisconsin even as Debbie Wasserman Schultz is holding an emergency fundraiser in the face of “a report that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin is “furious” with the Democratic National Committee for not pouring more money into the Scott Walker recall effort”.

Earlier Breitbart reported that had virtually accused the DNC of leaving them to face the Tea Party hordes alone. The Daily Kos says, “there does appear to be an enthusiasm gap that’s favoring the GOP right now … Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett won the Democratic primary but does not appear to be seeing a bounce from that victory.”

There is a thin line between the perception of political strength and the start of an unstoppable contagion of doubt. On one side of the line a candiate can raise money, rally his forces and make a showing. On the other side of the line he begins to look like a loser. Once the rot takes hold then it is worse for him than it truly is. Barack Obama rose to power on the back of many interests who saw him as someone who could deliver their agenda. What happens if they no longer see him as a credible candidate? Do they go all the way to November with damaged goods and go down with him or does the Democratic convention become more interesting than heretofore imagined?

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