Results, Not Beliefs

Digby discusses the new Pew Poll findings on what Americans believe will help grow the economy:

I realize that the president has been more nuanced than the Republicans on the benefits of the massive spending cuts and contractionary nature of this whole debate. [. . .] But it is still the case that most Americans have come to believe that fixing the deficit will lead to jobs.

There's not much the President can do now to revive the economy. The GOP House will block any worthwhile initiative. But avoiding doing harm would be nice. Of course the President must do what's necessary to raise the debt ceiling but he should try to fashion a deal that does the least harm to the economy. Cutting the deficit now will be very harmful. Despite what Americans might think. And in November 2012, no one is going to be thinking about whether they were right or wrong about deficit reduction spurring economic growth. They'll look at the results and blame the guy in charge. Unless the guy in charge can blame someone else. Unlike the Obama team, and as the Pew poll demonstrates, "Independents" will not be won over by "reasonableness." Good policy is good politics. And not horrible policy is better than horrible policy politically. Yes, it remains "the economy, stupid."

Speaking for me only

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    The new gallop poll shows Obama at 40% (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Buckeye on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 03:31:13 PM EST
    and he is down to 34% among independents.  Only 72% of dems give him favorable ratings.  34% independents!!!!!  He got 57% of them 30 months ago).  If that holds, he is done in 18 months, period.  

    Even if he is faring better than Boehner and McConnell in public opinion over this debt ceiling debacle, this has not been a winning issue for him.  So the question is (if we are going to speak of the politics of all of this) what is going to change the trajectory over the next 18 months?  It is a horrible environment to run for reelection in now, no one knows where growth is going to come from, and all the decisions being made in Washington right now make things worse.

    It's the economy stupid is what people are going to tell Obama if he loses reelection and the GOP is right back in the White House.

    I heard somewhere (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 03:35:44 PM EST
    And I could be wrong, but at this time in an election cycle, an incumbent POTUS has to be over 40% to have a realistic shot of getting re-elected.

    Now, that could be a fallacy, but it seems reasonable, and if so, he's on the brink.


    The biggest reason why I am now (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Buckeye on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 03:39:46 PM EST
    predicting that he loses is the outlook.  If he was doing okay in the polls right now, or if he was not doing well but the outlook showed signs of recovery over 12 months before election day, I would not worry about it too much.  The problem is, he is really really low right now for an incumbent and the prospects for the economy look bleak.  If Q1 only grew 0.4%, and Q2 only grew 1.3% (before any revisions which always seem to go down) than a double dip recession is more possible than I originally thought (for practical purposes, we are in one now).

    And that (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 04:03:17 PM EST
    is based on a 3-day average.  It will likely get worse tomorrow and Saturday.

    Apparently he needed to save Bin Laden for a little while longer.

    Cynical me....


    But they won't even cut the deficit (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Demi Moaned on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 03:33:42 PM EST
    We're in a land where a kind of converse of the Laffer curve operates. Cutting spending shrinks the economy reducing both tax revenues and employment rates, which throws more people onto what's left of the social safety net. So we shouldn't even be calling it deficit cutting, it's merely an attempt at spending cuts.

    It's clear that we'll have to swallow a massive dose of austerity now. The only thing that could be done is to educate the public that all this cutting will make things worse in every way for ordinary Americans.

    Unfortunately, now that even Nancy Pelosi has signed on, the idea of spending cuts as the only possible remedy for what ails us is a matter of complete bipartisan consensus. When things get worse, the public is only going to demand more of the same 'cure'.

    And yet (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Warren Terrer on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 03:41:00 PM EST
    cutting the deficit is precisely what Obama wants to do. He's said this repeatedly. He cannot do the least harm to the economy when his goal is to do something that is harmful, unless Congress stops him.

    If Obama wins re-election next year it will not be because of his economic policies. His only hope is that the GOP puts up a complete dud for a candidate. Personally, I do not care in the least whether Obama gets re-elected.

    Obama will continue to ... (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 03:47:09 PM EST
    be the good corporatist puppet he's been all along.

    It's about his evil overlords, stupid!

    geez, how many times must this be said, (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by cpinva on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 04:05:24 PM EST
    to get it through everyone's skull?

    there is no such thing as an actual "independent"! they call themselves that, so they can fancy themselves above the fray. in truth, those "independents" consistently vote either republican (mostly) or democrat. a person who consistently votes for republicans or democrats is a republican or democrat, not an "independent", regardless of how they self-style themselves.

    in short, the vast majority of "independents" are liars, to themselves and everyone else, so i take their responses with a ginormous grain of salt.

    I tend to find that they (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 04:25:00 PM EST
    fall into two main camps - Dems embarrassed by the Lewinsky scandal and north-of-the-bible belt Republicans who do not want to associate with the Falwell crowd.  Either way, if you are looking for your true elitists....look no further.

    I have been called many things in (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 07:30:36 PM EST
    my life but never an elitist. Seems the brush you are painting with is to broad to do the job.

    I self identify as an Independent not because I was embarrassed  by the Lewinsky scandal but because I'm embarrassed by the Republican policies advocated by a Democratic president and passed by Democratic Representatives and Senators.

    No reason as far as I'm concerned to have two Republican Parties even if the label on one says Democratic Party. When the Democratic Party started using needed domestic and safety net programs as bargaining chips in the game of who can cut taxes the most while we eliminate the middle class and starve the poor, the rational for their existence was weakened significantly IMO.    


    There are people (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 04:16:49 PM EST
    Who actually do things like (gasp!) split the ticket.

    Heck, I've split the ticket - mostly in local races where there may be a Republican in a local position who has done a good job and the Dem running against them is a complete moron.


    Not true (none / 0) (#11)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 04:43:10 PM EST
    I'm an independent and I know quite a number of people who also are.  People who are independents consider themselves neither Republicans nor Democrats.  They base their votes on the situation on the ground rather than simply on  "party loyalty" or "tribalism".

    What you're saying is false.  


    When I first registered to vote, I (none / 0) (#12)
    by Anne on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 06:15:14 PM EST
    registered as an independent, because, at the time - I was 18 - I didn't think I was ready to identify with one particular party.  That plan died when I found out that MD's primaries were closed, and I would have virtually no say in choosing a candidate from the primary field, and would have to rely on others to make that choice; I wasn't going to get to be heard until the general election, and I didn't care for that.  So, I registered as a Democrat.  In truth, if all states held open primaries, there would be no need to register with any party - we'd all just be voters.

    While we all have the right in the general election to choose the candidate who best aligns with our own beliefs, regardless of which party they represent, there are a lot of people who don't want to be registered as a member of a party that they feel is not representing them.

    But here's the thing: this is twice now that you've made this declaration about who or what registered independent voters "really" are, and this is the second time that actual independent voters have countered your opinion with the fact of their own reasons and own situations.  Common sense tells us that those who have responded here are not the exception - or at least that's what it tells me.

    Besides, think of how much less junk mail and phone calls one gets as an independent voter...that alone might be the best selling point there is.

    Seriously, though, I'm not sure what meaning there is to be found in trying to force people into an R or D box when, clearly, they registered indie to avoid that.


    I have never registered (none / 0) (#13)
    by itscookin on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 06:30:40 PM EST
    as either a Republican or a Democrat. I've voted in every presidential election since 1972. While I have voted mostly (but not all of the time) for the Democrat at that level, I've voted for several Republican governors. At the district level, I've not only voted on both sides of the aisle, I have actively worked for candidates from both parties. There is a tribal mentality to belonging to a political party that rears its ugly head when it isn't enough for the other party to be wrong on an issue - they must be evil or stupid. I don't think that's true of either party. I think being willing to see beyond the (R) or (D) after a candidate's name is the hallmark of an independent voter. When I hear people say that independents are too lazy in their thinking to join a party, I have to laugh. There is nothing lazier than reflexively voting for someone because they belong to one party or the other.

    From non existent, to (none / 0) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 07:37:24 PM EST
    fantasy to liar. You are on a roll with these statements. Keep on rolling and don't let any facts get in your way.

    cpinva is substantially (none / 0) (#18)
    by brodie on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 09:45:49 AM EST
    correct, according to recent research by political scientists as detailed here.  Key findings:

    . The overwhelming majority of those calling themselves independents are actually weakly but consistently aligned with one of the two major parties

    . True independents who don't have a slight party preference make up only 10% of the electorate (in the 2008 presidential election true indies were only 7% of the total vote)

    . True independents with no party leanings have a lower rate of turnout than party-affiliated indy voters

    . Indies overall tend to vote for the party they lean to at an 87% rate


    If the two major parties were not such (none / 0) (#19)
    by Anne on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 10:24:39 AM EST
    monoliths, and we had an active and viable multi-party system, such that there were more choices available, I suspect the findings of research like the ones you cited would reflect that.

    When the choices are essentially only Republican or Democrat, what do you expect - of course independent voters are going to choose one of them.

    I truly believe we should not have to declare any party affiliation to be able to exercise our right to vote; maybe that would shake things up a little - for sure it would increase the junk mail and phone calls, lol - but maybe it would also mean parties would have to work harder to get the votes, and be less inclined to take any vote for granted.

    And some serious campaign finance reform would go a long way to improving things - but that's not going to happen, either, so I guess I will stop fantasizing and get on about my Saturday errands...


    Nuance has no place in politics, (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 07:03:33 PM EST
    certainly no place in a presidential sales pitch.  I cannot be the only person sick to death of hearing it used to describe the subtlety of the great one's rhetoric.  Subtlety and nuance are the last things that will work in a milieu as power-driven as Washington.

    Nuance (none / 0) (#17)
    by christinep on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 09:44:25 PM EST
    Ol' George W once said: "I don't do nuance." How quickly we forget.