A thought about Martini Boy’s EU-vote speculation below:
Is the trend in the Western democracies an anti-incumbent one? If so, that spells serious trouble for President Bush in November. The same tide sweeping against Labour in the UK, the left-leaning SDU in Germany, and conservatives in Italy and France, could wash up against the status quo in Washington, too.
Or, is the European backlash less against the ruling parties, and more against the new status quo of EU supranationalism? If so, then an internationalist like Kerry could have trouble against the more-nationalist Bush.
Here’s another possibility. I believe oil and gas prices are the major, unremarked-upon factor in both the EU vote and Bush’s recent poll numbers. There’s been a good bit of speculation about how the improving US economy isn’t being reflected in Bush’s numbers, but I maintain that people are reacting to the April-May price spike at their gas stations much more than any unemployment or growth statistics.
When you’re looking at $2 or more a gallon, it’s a tough sell to tell people that the rest of the economy is roaring along, even if it really is. Oil and gas prices eventually affect literally everything in the economy, and people have seen enough recessions closely following oil spikes to not be nervous about a price jump this dramatic. I bet that’s even more true in Europe, where growth is slower (if existant), unemployment much worse, and gas prices are even higher.