President Obama is a liability to Democrats this cycle. Of that, there is no question.
His approval numbers are universally low, with both Gallup and Rasmussen showing his worst ratings yet.
The Washington Post is running stories about how Democrats have chosen to run from the President.
One senior Democratic consultant suggested that the distance candidates are seeking to put between themselves and Obama is reflective of the ascendance of economic issues in voters’ minds. “Barack Obama’s economic policy of spending our way out of recession is seen as a failure at best and harmful at worst,” the source said. “That should tell candidates in competitive jurisdictions all they need to know about running with the president.”
And even the RNC is jumping on the bandwagon with an amusing ad mocking all the Democrats who refuse to be seen with Obama.
But desperate times call for desperate measures.
Despite every shred of evidence showing the President to be a liability, the Strickland campaign is welcoming him in with open arms for a widely publicized campaign event tomorrow.
There can only be three possible reasons. And none of them are good for the Strickland campaign.
- They need money. Bad. While Strickland almost raised as much money as John Kasich last reporting period, a massive portion of it once again came from Union and Special Interest money that is now tapped out. If they are bringing in a massive political liability to raise money and risk damaging Strickland further, it must be because they have to.
- Strickland’s numbers look awful. The latest numbers on the race showed Kasich up 9. But the real problem, as I’ve mentioned many times before, is that Democrats aren’t supporting Strickland the way that’s necessary to make victory possible. It’s very possible that the Reuters poll merely reflected the massive weakness among the base that they’ve seen in their own internal polling.
- They’re really, really, really stupid.
If you take Strickland’s manager at his word, it seems the closest answer is #2.
From the Dispatch:
“From a strategic perspective, Democrats are enthusiastic about the president,” said Aaron Pickrell, Strickland’s campaign manager, who views Obama’s visit as an opportunity to rekindle the excitement among the party faithful that propelled Obama to a 4.6 percentage-point victory in Ohio in 2008.
“We’re reaching out to them to maintain that enthusiasm,” said Pickrell, who also was Obama’s Ohio campaign manager.
So here we have the Strickland campaign admitting there is an enthusiasm problem within his own base. I appreciate the honesty.
But if he wants to talk strategics, he’s leaving out a very important number – Obama’s approval rating among Independents.
It’s true, according to Gallup, support among Democrats for Obama since his inauguration has been relatively steady. But among Independents there has been a massive drop of 35% since February of ’09. With support of the President among Indies sitting at an amazingly low 39%, any benefit of inspiring the base comes paired with the significant sacrifice of losing Independents.
But the Strickland campaign is willing to risk it.
Why? Because they have to.
The Strickland campaign is in serious trouble.