Unpopular President Still Favored for Re-Election

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 22 2010 2:33 PM

Unpopular President Still Favored for Re-Election

The headline from the new Quinnipiac poll is "Americans don't want second term for Obama," or something like that. If you really want the traffic, it's "PALIN IN SINGLE-DIGIT DOGFIGHT WITH BARRY SOETORO." But the numbers are a lot more promising for Obama if you put them in a historical context.

What do I mean? Here are the top-line Quinnipiac results that pit him against top Republicans.


Barack Obama 44
Mitt Romney 45

Barack Obama 46
Mike Huckabee 44

Barack Obama 48
Sarah Palin 40

Barack Obama 45
Mitch Daniels 36

For comparison, polling after the 1994 midterms had Bill Clinton -- who, unlike Barack Obama, never won a majority of the popularity vote -- trailing Bob Dole by 10 points in a possible match-up. The Quinnipiac poll has Obama's favorable rating at a wan 48 percent, and voters holding higher opinions of the GOP than of the Democrats. But with unemployment at 9.6 percent and his party battered and pathetic, Obama shouldn't be tying or beating every one of the other side's hopefuls. He is. You understand why earlier today, John Boehner's Twitter account passed on a story about projections keeping unemployment above 8 percent by the end of 2012. It falls faster than that and Obama gets tough to beat.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.