Any sitting president running for reelection undoubtedly has enjoyed somewhat of a championship advantage. It’s difficult to unseat a sitting president, no matter who is running or what state the economy is in. Five sitting presidents have been defeated during their reelection bid in the past 100 years. Two of the most common reasons that presidents have typically been denied a second term are high unemployment, and an approval rating below 48%.
No doubt this has sent red flags up all across the Obama campaign. However, it may not be the only bad news. One more statistic that probably has the president and his top campaign officials worried is that no president has ever won re-election while at the same time loosing a popular support during their first term.
24 presidents in U.S. history have sought reelection. Of the 15 that succeeded in earning successive victories, each of them enjoyed more popular support the second time around than they did the first. George W. Bush, despite how heated things became towards the end of his first term, enjoyed 11.6 million more votes in 2004 than he did in 2000.
No president has ever lost support and still retained the office. President Obama has good reason to be concerned, because of the fact that he has been slowly but steadily bleeding support.
Jewish support has dropped for the president by 10 points according to Gallup. It is the first significant drop in Jewish support for a Democratic presidential candidate in over two decades. (Michael Dukakis also saw a significant drop in support among this group before losing to George H.W. Bush in 1988) Mitt Romney could make further inroads with Jewish voters once his support for Israel and personal friendship with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu becomes better known.
The percentage of small business owners that support Obama has dropped to 35%, dropping sharply from 41% during the first quarter of this year.
Several prominent individuals like Earl Ray Tomlin, Colon Powell, and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who supported Obama in 2008 have refused to commit this time. Congressman Artur Davis, used to support the president but now is supported Romney. He has also switched his party from Democrat to Republican.
The president still enjoys high support among African Americans and Hispanics, however whether or not they will show up in the same massive numbers that they did in 2008 remains in doubt. Democratic enthusiasm has sputtered. Republicans now are leading Democrats in voter enthusiasm, 51% to 39%.
President Obama beat Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008 with 52.9% of the vote, which is by no means a comfortable enough margin to be able to lose support from and still guarantee a victory. On top of that, the president is not up against the same half-hearted campaign that he was up against then. Romney’s campaign is proving to be quite formidable, both at raising money and responding to attacks. Rather than put out a simple statement rebuking Obama and the media’s claims about Romney being an outsourcer, they released a massive, scathing document disproving every claim made by the Obama campaign.
Not only is the Obama campaign up against a strong, highly organized campaign that is raising more money than they are, but they are also against a base that is energized. In 2008, Republicans were a demoralized party. This time around, Republican enthusiasm has surged, while Democratic enthusiasm has slumped.
Romney now leads Obama in the latest Rasmussen and CBS/NYT polls, while Gallup has them tied, according to Real Clear Politics. The only poll that has Obama ahead outside of the margin of error is an NBC/WSJ poll with a sample so skewed that the people who put it together should be embarrassed.
While President Obama may be able to squeak out a victory on November 6th, the odds are not in his favor as much as some pundits might have you believe. He’s going to have to fight harder than he ever has just to stop bleeding votes. Then he’ll have to fight again to win them back. Meanwhile Governor Romney is hot on his heels, gaining more every week.
While Obama does enjoy high personal approval ratings, new polls have come out showing that people trust Mitt Romney much more when it comes to fixing the economy. All things being considered, the president could very easily lose on November 6th.