Politics and Public Opinion, Elections, Pethokoukis

The 5 economic stats that will decide the election … are all pointing down for Obama

White House Flickr stream

White House Flickr stream

Forget those head-to-head matchup polls between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Instead, look at the incumbent’s approval rating. No president has won reelection with an approval rating below 50% (In 2004, George W. Bush had a 48% approval rating among registered voters but was over 50% with likely voters.) And right now, according to the RealClearPolitics average, Obama stands at 46.9%.

So how can Obama boost that rating to 50%? A better economy would sure help. As Dan Clifton of Strategas Research puts it:

Our premise has been that the President’s approval rating will determine whether he is effectively making the sale to voters for a second term. And the variable most important to the President’s approval rating over the past year has been the unemployment rate. Based on the current trajectory, the President needs a 7.6 pct unemployment rate to reach that 50 pct benchmark. The trajectory of the economy is what matters and we reviewed just about every economic indicator possible and found only a couple of metrics that have correctly predicted presidential reelections. These indicators are listed below with the economic improvements needed for the President to reach a 50 pct approval rating. We will update these with each new data release.

The above chart shows what those indicators are and where they stand right now. And right now all five show Obama below where he needs to be to hit 50%. Job growth and income growth needs to be faster, consumer confidence higher.

And time is running out for a last-minute boom. In fact, the new Wall Street Journal survey of economists finds that forecasters see the third-quarter of 2012 as only slightly stronger than the past two.

17 thoughts on “The 5 economic stats that will decide the election … are all pointing down for Obama

  1. I have to wonder if they aren’t rigged to give the results that the person paying for the poll and meant to make obama worry. If so, obama might strike back like an animal in a corner wanting to survive and start WWIII to be a “wartime president” and be unlikely to be voted out.

    • come on. obama and his circle arent reading this or noting it. and certianly not telling the pampered prince, for god sake. and the MSM wont tell us this until its too late for obama. relax. he and his supporters will be in total cognitive dissonance in Nov. watching msbnc will be hilarious. and look, he’s already started one war, and cranked up the one bush was getting us out of – has that helped?

  2. I actually looked at a couple stats myself going back to JFK. The two I like are GDP Growth over the previous 4 quarters and the university of Michigan consumer confidence index. Based on where GDP growth is right now, Obama is likely to get 48% of the vote (in a two way race with Romney). Based on where consumer confidence is, he will get 42%. I looked at unemployment as well but didn’t find it to be that correlative. You can see it all here: http://libertarian-neocon.blogspot.com/2012/06/obama-will-lose-in-november-based-on.html

  3. Why is r-sq. used instead of r? R is the accepted term for correlation, while r-sq. is the coefficient of determination. Not saying that r-sq. isn’t an acceptable measure of correlation, but it is not correlation. I only bring this up cause if r was used the correlation numbers would be much higher. But I guess it’s better to underestimate than to overestimate in this case.

    • R-square measures the percent of the variability in the dependent variable (election outcome) that is explained by the independent variables (the 5 economic stats). R-square is a measure that has an understandable objective interpretation (see first sentence) whereas correlation is actually more difficult to interpret. Correlation is often interpreted as “the square root of R-square” – not that easy to explain. However, the table above seems to identify R-square and correlation as the same – the heading on the table says “correlation: R-squared” as if they are the same – they are not. This is an error.

  4. I suspect that about 50% of the voters will not make their decision based on the economic numbers.

    Do people dependent on government really care how many jobs are created?

    Do people who think economic success is a matter of luck and connections care about the business environment?

    An Obama win will be evidence that the American people are not the people they once were.

    I’m betting he wins.

    • I dont think anyone is really arguing they are going to sit there and look at the statistics and decide that way. These stats are all measures of how people are feeling about their lives. Are they confident? Are they making money? Are there lots of unemployed out there which make them fear for their own jobs?

      The stats are proxies for the feeling of the electorate. If its negative, they vote the PResident out

    • I really go by what I see and hear. In 2008, I saw a LOT of Obama bumper stickers at this point. I think I’ve seen 2 or 3 so far. In fact, I’ve seen a few Romney stickers or anti-Obama stickers. I don’t recall seeing any McCain stickers at all in 2008. I know several people who admitted that they voted for Obama in 2008, and almost to a person they felt like they got conned. None of them are voting for him this time. Two of my colleagues were certain two months ago that Obama was a shoo-in. Now they think he might lose. I’m waiting to see the lawn signs start coming out in the fall. There were a LOT of Obama signs in yards in 2008. If I don’t see them, I’ll be feeling more and more confident that hope and change will mean President-elect Romney on Nov. 6.

  5. Obama will lose if, and only if, a significant percentage of the 4 million conservatives who didn’t vote in the 2008 presidential contest (based on exit polls as reported by Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard) b/c McCain wasn’t “conservative enough” hold their noses and vote for Romney this time AND if a significant percentage of the 35% of Republicans who just didn’t vote at all in 2008 decide that, well, gee whiz, maybe I should vote this time.

    How do we make that happen. Not by blogging about it. Not by talking about it. The BEST way to make that happen is for each of us to help make it happen by getting involved in Get Out The Vote efforts wherever Romney has a chance to win that particular state, such as the battle ground states. The best way to make it happen is targeted phone calls and “door visits” to those voters, who can be targeted through the Republican Party’s Voter Vault system or by volunteering with the Romney campaign to make such calls or precinct walks.

    On the other hand, if most Americans just vote and hope “the other guy” will do the grunt work of Get Out The Vote, we may end up with another 4 years of living under a Marxist president who has done everything he can to flout our laws knowing full well Boehner and Cantor and McConnell and Kyl and McCain and all the rest of the Republican leaders are too timid to challenge him by either shutting down the government or impeaching him.

    Thank you.

  6. All bets are off because O is black. You can suck all you want, but you know that 40 million votes are yours. And don’t give me that shit about blacks NOT being racists.

  7. The crazy thing is the near half that will still vote for him can not understand such a chart….. we have dumbed down my fellow Americans… Way down. I still think come November the pain threshold has been met to put someone new in the office as this is just so so very wrong these times and direction.

  8. Obama will get less of the 20 something vote because they can’t get jobs. He will get slightly less of the black vote. Some blacks are not happy with what he’s done. Most will still vote for him – nail in the coffin. Women who run households are much less happy with Obama. Hispanics will vote Obama, but the great majority of them are too young to vote. Dead people will vote Obama as will dogs, cats and monkeys.

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