Sarah Palin and Chris Christie are now officially out of the running for the Republican presidential bid, and the two remaining front-runners share the same positive quality—they are not Obama. A Pew Research Center poll released on Thursday revealed that 31 percent of Mitt Romney supporters and 33 percent of Rick Perry supporters view their votes as a blow against Obama rather than a vote for their respective candidates.
Conversely, Obama supporters view a vote for Obama as a symbol of their approval for the president. Thirty-three percent of voters who chose Obama over Romney did so as a vote in favor of Obama, while only 15 percent supported Obama because they were against Romney. A nearly identical pattern holds true in a vote between Obama and Perry.
The results are typical of an incumbent running against lesser-known challengers, but the current economic climate—and the job that Obama does to improve it—is becoming the largest factor driving preferences in the election campaign. Such a risk is driving the president to push his jobs bill with increasing fervor while Perry and Romney fight to differentiate themselves as more than “not Obama.”