If they’re talking about holding Michigan, Obama’s in trouble

**Posted by Phineas

While noting wryly that Obama can’t run for reelection on the back of his faithful unicorn, Hopenchange, that he instead has to defend his record, Jim Geraghty quotes the following from a WSJ article on a meeting at which Obama campaign staff presented a slide show to potential donors:

Part of Mr. Messina’s presentation is to caution donors that while Mr. Obama has recovered after the trouncing his party took in the 2010 elections and is well-positioned for 2012, he will face a tough re-election fight that will require substantial donor support, according to people familiar with the presentation. The slide show cites Michigan and Pennsylvania as places where Mr. Obama’s standing has dropped since 2008 while GOP support has gone up. Using bureaucratic short hand for President of the United States, the slides warn: “POTUS maintains clear but narrowed support” and note there is “significant work to do to increase support among key demographics.”

Emphasis added.

I don’t want to sound like an optimist here, but the last time those states went Republican was 1988. Yet, as Geraghty points out, Team Obama isn’t talking about holding red states they won in 2008 or even perennial swings states Ohio and Florida. No, they’re worried about defending long-time Blue states.

While there are some signs of an economic recovery, it’s pretty anemic, and I don’t expect it to get much better in the next 18 months. Obama’s economic policies work against a robust recovery. If inflation unemployment stays around 8-9% (or, God forbid, gets worse), if the numbers of long-term unemployed continue to grow, if gas prices soar because the administration refuses to allow new drilling, if food-price inflation gets worse, if… You get the picture. In a presidential election, people usually vote their pocketbooks; if they’re not happy, the party in the White House traditionally takes the hit. That was part of the reason for the 2008 result: it was a “make us prosperous again” vote. (Boy, what a bad joke that turned out to be.)

If any combination of the factors above are in play in just over a year, it won’t just be Michigan and Pennsylvania worrying the Obama campaign.

Edit: Fixed a typo. I meant “unemployment” when I wrote “inflation.”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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