An interesting blog post popped up yesterday in my Google News 2012 Election feed worth sharing for a few reasons. As the title states, elections are often compared to past elections in terms of modeling what the current economic and political climate resembles. In 2012, the comparisons are no different. Republicans claim this election can be compared to 1980 when Ronald Reagan swept into office in the midst of Jimmy Carter’s shortcomings. Democrats, on the other hand, compare 2012 to 2004 when the incumbent President Bush held off John Kerry by essentially disqualifying him as a leader and showing signs of economic upturn.

Pete Spiliakos writes for First Things and examined this topic more thoroughly:

So I was watching one of the cable shows this week (can’t remember which) and one of the talking heads said that the Romney campaign was looking at the electoral situation as being somewhat like 1980. In the summer, Carter and Reagan were close in the polls, but Carter’s support was under 50% and, in the Fall, undecided voters broke for Reagan in huge numbers. What with the bad economy, 1980 would look like an encouraging example for Romney supporters.

But let’s look at the presidential job approval numbers. In June, July, and early August of 1980, President Jimmy Carter’s job approval rating fluctuated between 31% and 38%. Carter wouldn’t hit 40% job approval for the rest of the year. During the same time period for this election year, President Obama’s Real Clear Politics average job approval rating has fluctuated between 47% and 48%. Barring an event that sinks Obama’s ratings, Obama’s floor of support is much higher than Carter’s. It is also quite possible that the median voter is somewhat less hostile to Obama in 2012 than a similarly situated voter felt toward Carter in 1980.

2004 might seem like a better model. In June, July, and early August of 2004, incumbent President George W. Bush’s Real Clear Politics average job approval rating fluctuated between 46% and 49%. Bush ended up winning the popular vote by 2.46%. 2004 seems like a better analogy for our current situation than 1980, and the implications would tend to point toward a narrow Obama win all other things being equal.

In conclusion, Spiliakos lists some key differences from 2004 including the unemployment rate, which favored Bush at the time versus Romney now, as well as the Latino vote and John Kerry’s shifting position on Bush’s tax cuts.

The bottom line is that this election will look like the 2012 election for the most part. Comparisons can be made but the major variables such as the candidates, the economy and worldwide conditions always change. Voters change their opinions and change their priorities depending on the circumstances each and every election cycle.

18 COMMENTS

  1. The unemployment rate is a big factor in this coming election. Obama could be defeated by a candidate with a good track record concerning job creation. 46 out of 50 is just not a good track record. So, Romney plants the seeds of a war with Iran and the new government pays us back with oil. Right, been there done that and it didn’t work. Sooo, let’s talk tax records and in the end Romney shows he did nothing wrong and the people vote for him because he was wrongfully accused. A long shot, but you got to play the cards that were dealt you.

  2. Nate: Be suspicious of any blog that claims to be a conservative authority. In this case, the “analysis” could hardly be more superficial, playing with meaningless, and in this case, irrelevant numbers that don’t even match.

    That job approval stuff is crap. Look at EVERY president’s record, and you’ll find that their approval rating was low a year before the election. I’m old enough to remember that JFK was running scared, even though the economy was doing well and he was seen as a hero due to his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis and subsequent reproachment with Kruchev. Reagan also looked shaky. Job approval numbers are just a media game. A lot of it depends on how they ask the question, and of course, they ask the question in a way that will tighten the “horse race,” because they get paid more if the race is tighter–both in ratings and in campaign ads.

    The only thing of interest he said in that article is that Rubio could lose more Latino votes than he brings in (although he just alludes to it).

    I think the real story right now is the underground campaign to stop Romney. And the pre-convention assembly at Miami is going to be a lot more interesting than the commercial farce after it.

  3. Why 1980 and 2004? How could anyone compare Obama to Carter and Bush?

    A better pair of years are 1992 and 1996.

    In 1992, we had a president who was successful in foreign affairs (Poppy’s Gulf War now Barry’s getting bin Laden, etc.)–But Bubba won with the simple expression, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

    Bubba couldn’t show that he was better, all he had to do is point out that 12 years of Republican rule had led to economic stagnation. But Bubba was a poor kid who made good. People wanted to have a beer with Bubba. And when it comes down to it, that’s what’s important. Mitt Rockefeller really can’t convince people that he’s one of them (I mean human!).

    But I think it would be better to compare this year with 1996. The president had been beaten up. The mid-term elections had brought in an overwhelming opposition. He seemed to be going down without hope. But then, at the last minute, the cavalry arrived!! The Republican Party felt obligated to pick a candidate it felt it “owed” it to–Bob Dole, who had run before, and paid his dues.

    This is another year when a president was vulnerable, but the opposition picked a loser, like Dewey, McGovern, Dukakis, Dole, Kerry, and now Willard Mithering Robme.

    • Dukakis, ? ? ? Gee I wouldn’t put him in the same boat as the Mitt. Yeah he was big on taxes but the people seemed to like him in his home state. I think the soft on crime did him in.

      Hey, what about that porn queen being for Romney, Jenna Jameson. Jokes about it are pretty good.

  4. I guess this is as good a place as any.

    Several weeks ago, when we thought Ron Paul should run as both Libertarian candidate and candidate of what at that time looked viable–AmericansElect–I asked if anyone knew whether votes are counted by party–so that if someone gained a majority of votes split among parties, whether he could be elected.

    I found the answer in the election of 1896. William Jennings Bryan was the candidate of the Democratic and the People’s Party. The only problem was that the parties chose different veep candidates. But his electoral votes were for HIM, not the party. Thus, if a number of parties chose the same person for president, he or she could beat the major parties.

    Probably a moot point this year, but if single issue parties arose, a “third party” candidate could conceivably become president by building a coalition of single-issue parties. I see this as a viable way to break the 2-party stranglehold.

  5. Billy: Please DO elaborate.

    Considering that Willard’s secret agenda is to start a War on Porn if he’s elected, this is an amazing endorsement.

    Reminds me of Ann’s recent statement that we should “unzip him and let the real Mitt out.”

  6. It doesn’t matter which one of these BOZOS are elected President. Other than Ron Paul, whichever one of these guys (Romney or Obama) becomes President; he will have the distinct honor of presiding over the collapse of the Dollar, the US Economy and the United States of America as we know it.

    We are on the cusp of the New World Order foisting a Global Governance upon humanity with the Elite in charge of us all.

  7. Ron Paul to WIN — or America to END 2012!
    (there are no other options!)

    All REAL Americans, and ALL People around the world— that believe in Liberty, Peace, Prosperity, Honesty, Truth, Goodness and Self-determination —are for Ron Paul.

    President Paul wants to save our Nation and heal the World, and desires nothing for himself — making him a True Patriot (unlike the megalomaniacs that want The Presidency, so they can get a bigger pie, and engorge themselves further at the people’s expense — marking them as Leeches on the path to suck US dry)!

    Ron Paul has awoken the Sleeping Giant that is We, The People! We are growing in numbers and our voice is no longer distant thunder — but a Roaring Storm that’s approaching and eventually will wipe out the PUPPETEERS that have stolen Our Nation!

    We are the MANY, while the Criminals in Power, that want to control us, are the FEW (and their subhuman squeals are getting weaker)!

    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xq3BYw4xjxE)

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