The Daily Scoop: The Economy & the Election: How Bad for Obama?

The headline on the lead  story in Thursday’s Times reads: “In Wariness on Economy, Poll  Finds Opening for Romney.” Citing the findings from a Times/CBS News  opinion survey carried out earlier this week, the article went on to say that a  lingering concern among Americans “about their own financial circumstances is  allowing Mitt Romney to persuade voters that he could improve their economic  prospects more than President Obama.”

On the face of it, this is highly encouraging news for the presumptive G.O.P.  nominee. In our straitened times, it is a rarely challenged truism that economic  concerns dominate elections. Now that we are well into the third year of a  recovery, however weak, from a deep recession, the incumbent should be getting  some credit. 

If he isn’t, if voters still think somebody else could do a better job of  improving their lot, his electoral prospects would appear to be grim—much  grimmer than the conventional wisdom among political professionals, pundits, and  speculators would indicate. (On the betting site Intrade, Obama is still the  strong favorite  to defeat Romney.)

But is that the full story? Not quite. A close look at the Times/CBS  News survey, and other recent polls, reveals a complicated and ambiguous  picture. Yes, there are some positive signs for the G.O.P. and worrying ones for  the White House. But the trends are still going in Obama’s direction. What the  poll really reinforces is just how critical what happens to the economy in the  next few months will be.

Read more… 



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