Moar Economic Determinism

My post for Greg today is on Obama's recent dip below 40 percent in the Gallup Daily tracking poll--and how the administration should ignore the daily numbers and worry more about the economy:

What should worry the Obama administration is the reason Reagan won and Bush lost — economic growth. Strong economic growth in the later stages of the first Reagan administration resulted in his winning reelection by a landslide—while a faltering economy ensured the elder Bush would lose reelection to Bill Clinton.

When I spoke to political scientists and economists about Obama’s chances for reelection in 2012, they said that at the very least, GDP growth would have to average about 2 percent per quarter for Obama to be reelected based on date from prior elections. Growth in the first quarter of 2011, meanwhile, was a paltry .4 percent.

So there’s little point in wringing one’s hands over daily approval ratings. It’s still the economy, stupid, and what will likely determine the outcome in 2012 is not how the president’s approval ratings look today but what the economy looks like over the course of the next year or so.

As if to underscore the point, he's back up three points to 41 percent today.

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