[I]f the economy is in “steep recession” next year, the Republican nominee will almost certainly win. When the incumbent or his party is held responsible for poor economic performance, the electorate tends to be more willing to overlook things that might otherwise be considered a significant liability. In any case, unless he is trying to fail, Perry is not going to campaign for the abolition of Social Security or anything like it.
Sullivan counter-punches: Point taken. I’d merely argue that Perry’s “solutions” sound a lot like warmed over Bushism to me, with an even heavier Texas twang. His style is very regional. I can’t see Catholics being comfortable with him. He’s a potential gaffe machine. He is nowhere near as likable as Obama. And there are two electoral responses in very bad economic times. One is to throw the incumbent out; the other is to be so afraid of the unknown that you back the devil you know. It’s far too early to predict anything that solid at this point, but these are the considerations I’d put on the table.
Then there’s what empirical data we now have:
Barack Obama would beat Rick Perry by 11 percentage points in a head-to-head match up, while Romney would hold the president to a four-point lead, according to a poll released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling.
More to the point:
Obama has widened his lead since PPP’s last poll three weeks ago. Then, Obama led Perry by just 49 percent to 43 percent, and Romney and Obama tied at 45 percent.
The longer the public has gotten to know Perry, the wider Obama’s lead has grown. And all the negatives against Obama are baked into the cake. Perry has yet to face a national assault.