"It’s not going to be easy to win in 2012," President Barack Obama remarked at a recent event in Atlanta. "Now, I’m grey. It’s not as cool to be an Obama supporter.”
It's true. People simply aren't as excited for Obama as they were four years ago. Even two of the most visible Obama supporters from the 2008 campaign — the graffiti artist who made the iconic HOPE poster and the girl who sang "I Got a Crush on Obama" on Youtube — lack enthusiasm.
Obama is not cool among millennials anymore. Nor is he popular among blue-collar workers — it's so low, he sends Joe Biden to stand in for him. Apparently, the only group that is excited enough to donate is celebrities — but is the Hollywood vote enough to get reelected?
"I Got a Crush on Obama" got almost 25 million views on YouTube
What explains Obama's low popularity? Maybe voters think that Obama failed to deliver on his promises of hope and change. Maybe they are still having difficulty getting a job in a bad economy. Who really knows — it could be any number of things.
Whatever the reason for the enthusiasm gap, it means that Obama is having difficulty raising funds for his reelection. Donations are falling far short of expectations. He's failing to get the same rate of big-dollar donations that he did in 2008. As Karl Rove notes in the Wall Street Journal, George W. Bush's reelection campaign had a higher rate of donor renewal and lower operational costs.
Granted, being unenthusiastic is not the same thing as being anti-Obama, and perhaps things will turn around for him in the general election. Republicans are having their own trouble appealing to voters too. But if voters don't get fired up about Obama again, they may stay home on election day.
Photo Credit: BeckyF