Politicians win elections and earn their salaries by promising their constituents things and then explaining later why those promises were broken. This is in the Constitution, or Federalist 35 or something. But what happens to voters when they've been pushed to the very brink of insanity by a corrupt, inane political system and a rotten economy? According to new polling by the ABC News/The Washington Post, we're about to find out in 2012! The data shows it will involve a lot of misery, culminating in a campaign that is "a dramatic shift from the hope-and-change enthusiasm generated by Obama's first run for the White House."
74% of those polled believe that the country is on the "wrong track." 53% disapprove of the way President Obama is "handling his job as president," and eight in ten voters are "dissatisfied" with the way the federal government is doing its job. A third of those "dissatisfied" are "angry" about it. 56% view the economy as the election's most important issue. But all of the consensus melts away when voters are asked who they want to control Congress: 44% say Democrats, 41% say Republicans.
"It's a deeply pessimistic time," Steve Schmidt, John McCain's senior strategist in 2008 said. "Neither party is talking honestly or directly about the country's problems and challenges. It's going to be an extremely mean-spirited campaign…The whole focus will be on disqualifying the alternative, not on the country's future." Yeah! Obama should suspend his campaign and start doing some serious Presidenting.
David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, tells the paper, "At the end of the day, presidents elections are always a choice, not a referendum…Not being the other guy isn't enough." Axelrod whispers this to his stuffed animals three times every night before he falls asleep. New York Times number-cruncher Nate Silver has floated the possibility that Obama is "toast," because "evidence points on balance toward the referendum model" versus Axelrod's "choice" model, and GDP has been a good predictor in determining the success of an incumbent president facing reelection.
The Times has a nifty interactive chart that gives you Silver's predictions based on the what the 2012 GDP growth is, and Obama is going to need more growth than the 2.3% that is projected—at least 3% to stay competitive. The "good" news for the president is that those projections have a margin of error of "plus or minus 4 percent."
An opinion piece in the Daily News by the chief strategist for Americans Elect, a group pushing for a "centrist, bipartisan ticket" in all 50 states," reads, "The opportunity for a third party presidential candidate has never been greater" given the "widespread dissatisfaction of the American electorate." Too bad voting for a third-party candidate is just like "throwing your vote away." And there's nowhere for voters to express all their rage other than at the ballot box, either.
Then again, maybe Americans Elect is on to something. We were passed this great clip of a new guy from Illinois. Maybe we can convince him to get on the ballot?