RCP’s Sean Trende: Obama’s not in great re-election shape.

He ain’t so tough.

Mind you, Sean’s not saying that Obama’s in bad re-election shape, either: he’s currently scoring the President at essentially 50/50, with the slightest edge against the man.  But he’s definitely out to demolish some of the current Democratic talking points.  Short version (and this is only Part One):

  • The popular correlation between incumbency and re-election falls apart if you look at it too long;
  • If the economy is rebounding, it is not rebounding quickly enough to give the President sufficient wind at his back; and
  • Even the favorable polls for the President are not showing hard support for him – and certainly not for his policies.

Part 2 of this series should be interesting – and if you’re wondering who Sean Trende is, and why you should listen to him? Well, he’s the guy that scored Obamacare as being a disaster for Democrats (a worse one than the one in ’94) back in September 2009, and who managed to describe the summer of 2010’s political battlefield (and its results) pretty accurately in October 2009, too.

So let’s say this: If it is apparent to the average American by the summer of 2010 that we are in the midst of a robust recovery, then I think that the Democrats’ losses will be very limited. We could even see minor gains. But if we’re seeing double digit unemployment numbers that are only beginning to crest or come down (or worse still, are still going up), the Democrats are going to have an absolute debacle on their hands. Every Democrat in a red district that voted for the stimulus package, which is almost all of them, will have to face charges that they voted for a trillion dollars in spending with nothing to show for it. Many will also have to defend votes on cap-and-trade, a health care proposal that isn’t particularly popular in red states, and other votes yet to be determined (immigration reform?).

If that’s the playing field on which the 2010 elections are fought, then 2010 won’t look like 1994. It will look worse.

Sean will no doubt be the first person to say that he got lucky with that prediction (or the one in August 2009 where he called a Kirk squeaker win in IL-SEN); but it still does suggest that the guy has some idea of what he’s talking about.

Moe Lane (crosspost)


  • Catseye says:

    Remember reading the article, thought he had some inkling of what was coming then. Now I would say he is almost uncanny in his ability to judge the variables of future events. I look forward to reading his stuff.

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  • Jay Banks says:

    I agree with the fact that the state of the US economy is going to be a key element. Based on this, I think Obama does not stand a very good chance of winning right now. The inflation is high and so is the price of food or fuel, the number of jobs is not growing very much, etc. There are too many challenge Obama is going to face.

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