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Political Insiders Poll

On balance, will the economy be a positive or negative factor for President Obama’s reelection efforts?

Democrats (109 votes)

Very positive: 9%
Somewhat positive: 58%
Neutral: 16%
Somewhat negative: 17%
Very negative: 0%


Very positive

“Even though the unemployment rate will be high, Obama will benefit from positive economic momentum. Take the economy away from Romney, and he will have nothing left.”

Somewhat positive


“There’s a story to tell about a recovery happening, but will Americans hear it?”

“Signs are looking up right now, but there are so many things that can go wrong, from high gas prices to a possible crisis in Europe, that now is not the time to be complacent.”

“All signs point to improvement. Now if those pesky gas prices would just cooperate.”

“Right-track, wrong-track directional arrows will prove more influential in voters’ minds when viewing the economy than what’s in the rearview mirror.”


“Short-term issues like gas prices should resolve after Labor Day. The real question is whether voters feel we’re heading in a positive direction.”

“The overall economy is coming back to life. Obama should get some credit for this—he would certainly get the blame if it were the other way around!”


“There’s a lot of unease and uncertainty out there. There is a sense that things are getting a little better but most people aren’t fully seeing that in their lives.”

“The slow but steady growth in the economy was helping the president. But the rise in gasoline prices has taken the air out of the balloon.”

Somewhat negative

“There are two factors working against Obama: the unevenness of the recovery for noncollege grads, and the price of gas.”

“Obama can scare voters that a Republican president would make things worse, but no way can he convince people that the economy is good and reason enough to reelect him.”

“The only reason it isn’t killing him is the weakness of the Republican field.”


On balance, will the economy be a positive or negative factor for President Obama’s reelection efforts?

Republicans (105 votes)

Very positive: 0%
Somewhat positive: 9%
Neutral: 11%
Somewhat negative: 53%
Very negative: 28%

Somewhat positive

“Seven is the new four. In other words, the unemployment rate dropping even to 7 percent will feel like full employment. It could help neutralize the GOP’s message.”


“Gas prices are dragging him back down to sea level.”

“It’ll be neutral, but that’s huge. It was a major liability until recently.”

Somewhat negative

“Forget the stock-market results. When everyone knows the unemployed by name, the kids move back in after college because there are no jobs, your house is so far underwater you call it Atlantis, and filling up the gas tank costs more than dinner and a movie, the election is about the incumbent’s economic failures.”

“Despite an uptick, the administration’s problem is that they spent so much and got so little for it. Anger over that won’t go away.”

“Perhaps not fatal, but the sluggish economy and frozen housing market will hang over him through the election. Could make a big difference in a few key Midwestern states and Florida.”

“The media is going to try to argue that the upward trend is more important than the record over a whole term, but it’s going to take a mass case of amnesia for the economic record not to be a major anchor on the president’s case for four more years.”

Very negative

“Underemployment, homes underwater, cost-of-living increases versus wage stagnation, increasing costs of energy—plenty of evidence of a high misery index—will all continue to persist through the general election.”

“Forget about the unemployment rate, even though it’s stuck above 8 percent. This election will be about direction of quality of life, and under Obama it’s gone straight down.”

“Pick your poison: Economy recovers, but gas prices stay high, or gas prices drop because economy sags.”


Will the reemergence of social issues in the presidential campaign be positive or negative for your party’s 2012 election prospects?

Democrats (110 votes)

Very positive: 66%
Somewhat positive: 27%
Neutral: 5%
Somewhat negative: 3%
Very negative: 0%

This article appears in the March 17, 2012 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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