For my latest electoral prediction, click here.
A lot of my Republican friends (yes, I admit to having some) are feeling very confident about the 2012 election. They’re not quite measuring the drapes in the Oval Office, but this electoral map seems to be their “worst-case” example of how the states will break in 2012.
Notwithstanding my reasonably accurate 2010 election predictions, I don’t think I’m an expert on politics. But that’s never stopped me from commenting on things beyond economics, so here’s why I think Republicans are prematurely giddy.
First, while I certainly agree that Obama is much less popular than he was in 2008, that’s not terribly important since the election is still more than 18 months away.
Second, we don’t know what the economy will be a net plus or net negative next year. There’s a lot of evidence that people vote on pocketbook issues, and it appears that disposable income is an important variable. If we manage to have any sort of growth, even sub-par growth of perhaps 2.5 percent annually, that may be enough to make people more comfortable and to bring unemployment down close to 8 percent. If that happens, Obama will claim he brought the nation back from the brink of a second Great Depression. The fact that his policies actually retarded the recovery will be overlooked.
Third, you can’t beat something with nothing. Barack Obama’s secret weapon is the names on this list.