That Worked Well by David Atkins

That Worked Well
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

Gallup is out with its first head to head presidential poll. The results are worrisome:

President Barack Obama is closely matched against each of four possible Republican opponents when registered voters are asked whom they would support if the 2012 presidential election were held today. Mitt Romney leads Obama by two percentage points, 48% to 46%, Rick Perry and Obama are tied at 47%, and Obama edges out Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann by two and four points, respectively.

Worth noting in particular are the numbers among independents:

Obama: 44%
Romney: 47%

Obama: 44%
Perry: 46%

Obama: 43%
Ron Paul: 46%

Obama: 48%
Bachmann: 42%

Two things are worth pointing out here. First, if the President thought that embracing austerity would work to secure support among independents, he and his team were clearly mistaken. The data has been showing that for weeks. Even as a purely political calculation for electoral advantage, embracing austerity was a dumb move.

Second, the only thing that really separates Romney, Paul, and Perry from Bachmann is that the media hasn't decided to call them out as deranged lunatics like they have with Bachmann. The media has admittedly been appropriately harsh on Bachmann. There may be a gender effect as well, but it mostly has to do with media scrutiny.

If the President is counting on the support of independents for his austerity cutbacks and a friendly media environment going into November 2012, his campaign is going to be in for a world of hurt. It might be time to rethink the status quo strategy.