Monday, March 14, 2016

A slightly longer view on the election circus

When the horrors of this election cycle get me down -- and even if you're delighted to see your friends shut down the Donald, horror is appropriate -- I check in at Sam Wang's Princeton Election Consortium. PEC is the opposite of click bait: serious, modulated and thoughtful. And every day it automatically updates a number that probably gives as good an idea as any indicator whether we'll come out of this with some Democrat (either Democrat) as the next president.

There's considerable data to suggest that presidential elections can be predicted on the basis of what people think of the previous incumbent in the year leading up to the vote. Here's a slightly dated Nate Cohn discussion of this from last year.

The balance of evidence suggests that the break-even point for the presidential party’s odds of victory is at or nearly 50 percent approval.

And here's the PEC's current chart of the history of the ratio between President Obama's approval and disapproval:
Something's happening here. Obama is clearly on the rise, entering heights of approval he hasn't seen in a year.

Gallup's daily job approval numbers show a similar trend. The Prez is climbing.

Why is hard to know. The economy isn't making most of us feel safe and prosperous, but objectively it is as good as at any time in this presidency.

And the guy is stepping out on a lot of fronts in his last year, from trying to curb greenhouse gases by executive action, to protecting natural areas by declaring National Monuments, to trolling Donald Trump while having a drink with the Canadian Prime Minister.

This may seem a low bar to jump, but we don't have to be ashamed of how Obama represents the country to the rest of the world. Even those of us who think he's been complicit in the war crimes initiated by his predecessors can't deny that he's been a relatively restrained captain of the imperial colossus. (Do take the time to read The Obama Doctrine at the Atlantic.) We're not going to see his like again.

And our relative satisfaction suggests we'll elect a Democrat in November. We can't be complacent; state by state, there will be much work to do. But we can live in rational hope through the next nine moments of noise, anxiety, and general bullshit.


Rain Trueax said...

If we don't turn the Senate blue, the next President will have the same blockheads er make that blockades in his way. And if a republican is elected President (any of them), what comes next will be even worse. The Senate matters.

Hattie said...

I think the Trump thing is about over.

Sarah Dylan Breuer said...

Well said!

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