Morning Examiner: 2012 is not 2004

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

Near the end of his analysis of the new NBC/WSJ poll, NBC News Senior Political Editor Mark Murray writes:

Given all of these different elements – the president’s approval rating, attitudes about the country’s direction and economy, doubts about the challenger – this presidential race looks very similar to the 2004 one between Bush and Kerry.

According to the May 2004 NBC/WSJ poll, Bush’s approval rating was 47 percent (Obama’s is 48 percent); just 33 percent thought the nation was headed in the right direction (33 percent say that now); and approval of Bush’s handling of the economy was at 41 percent (Obama’s is 43 percent).

And also in May 2004, Bush was leading Kerry by three points, 48 percent to 45 percent (Obama is now leading Romney by four points).

If Obama’s supporters are pinning their hopes for reelection on a replay of 2004, they are setting themselves up for some big disappointment. Here are just some of the big differences between ’04 and ’12:

’04 was a foreign policy election: According to Gallup, the war in Iraq was by far the most important issue to voters in the 2004 election. The exact opposite is true today. Switching out your Commander in Chief in the middle of a war is just a different question than replacing a president whose economic policies are failing.

’02 was not a mirror image of ’10: President Bush's party gained ground in the ’02 election. Obama's lost ’10 in a landslide. The defeat of Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., in the Democratic primary, the rise of the netroots and their preferred candidates, Sens., Jim Webb, D-Vir., Jon Tester, D-Mont., all happened in 2006, two years after Bush was reelected. The Tea Party rose and got organized much faster. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, lost his primary in 2010. The Tea Party has already sent Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to Congress. The base of the Republican party is simply far more organized and united now than Democrats were in ’04.

Economic growth: At the core of almost every presidential election model is economic growth. In 2004, the U.S. economy grew by 3.5 percent. According to the CBO, the U.S. economy is projected to grow by just 2 percent this year.

Obama is simply in far, far worse shape today than Bush was in 2004.

Campaign 2012
Florida: A new Quinnipiac University Poll shows Romney is now beating Obama 47 percent to 41 percent in Florida. Just two months ago, Obama led Romney in the same poll 49 percent to 42 percent.

Around the Bigs
Reuters, “Fiscal cliff” could cause U.S. recession: The wave of tax hikes and spending cuts set to occur January 1st, would likely push the United States economy into recession in the first half of next year, the Congressional Budget Office warned on Tuesday.

ABC News, South Carolina AFL-CIO Leader Bashes Nikki Haley Pinata: Donna Dewitt, the outgoing president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO,has been captured on video bashing a pinata of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s face. Dewitt told ABC News she has no regrets about the incident.

The Washington Post, Iran, U.N. reach tentative deal on Tehran’s nuclear program before key talks: Iran has agreed in principle to pull back the curtain on some of its most secretive nuclear research, U.N. officials said Tuesday, a concession that came hours before negotiators from the Islamic republic were due to begin crucial talks with six world powers on curbing its nuclear program.

The Wall Street Journal, J.P. Morgan Exposed on Right Flank: JP Morgan’s trading loss has stoked frustration among Republicans—who haven’t forgotten that it donated mostly to Democrats last election cycle.

The New York Times, Facebook I.P.O. Raises Regulatory Concerns: Just days before Facebook went public Morgan Stanley and other firms started reaching out to their clients to dial back expectations for the Internet company.

Righty Playbook
Judicial Watch has obtained DOD and CIA records showing that the Obama administration has given unprecedented access to a filmmaker working on a movie lionizing Obama for allowing Navy Seals to kill Osama bin Laden. The movie is due out in October.

The Economist‘s Will Wilkinson writes, “If he’s smart, Mr Romney will argue that Mr Obama’s apparent inability to see the relevance of business experience to government just goes to show why he can’t be trusted to achieve either the goal of sustained economic growth.”

At National Review, Phil Klein advises conservatives to keep the pressure on Romney and buy his new e-book, Conservative Survival in the Romney Era.

At Bloomberg, Ramesh Ponnuru advises Romney to make his health care tax benefit a full credit, not a deduction.

At Pickpocket, Amanda Carpenter details how Obama is spending your tax dollars promoting his own agenda.

Lefty Playbook
Salon‘s Steve Kornacki makes the case that Obama should be attacking Romney over Bush, not Bain.

The New Republic‘s Jonathan Cohn explores why Massachusetts’ individual mandate did not create the same backlash that Obamacare’s did.

Talking Points Memo‘s Sahil Kapur reports that Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., is praising Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for his “sincere conversion” on immigration reform.

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