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The Purple Perspective: The 2012 Election
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The Purple Perspective: The 2012 Election

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Today we introduce the Purple Election Perspective. This monthly snapshot will provide a bipartisan look at key indicators for 2012. ...

Today we introduce the Purple Election Perspective. This monthly snapshot will provide a bipartisan look at key indicators for 2012.

In our first edition, we focus on critical economic and opinion data points that will set the national political terrain for the upcoming cycle. We also add essential context – comparison data for other incumbents over the last eight cycles.

At this early stage, President Obama finds himself facing an extremely difficult political environment as he ramps up his re-election campaign. Nearly every indicator – economic and opinion – puts him in a poor position relative to other successful incumbents.

It is important to emphasize that it is premature to make predictions – and as you’ll see in this month’s Purple Election Perspective, other incumbents have seen dramatic improvements during their re-election year.

Enjoy, and let us know if you have any thoughts or comments (doug.usher@purplestrategies.com).

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  • CNN/ORC 8/5-8/7

The Purple Perspective: The 2012 Election The Purple Perspective: The 2012 Election Presentation Transcript

  • The Purple Perspective: The 2012 Election September, 2011 Doug Usher, Ph.D. Managing Director, Purple Insights     1  815 Slaters Lane Alexandria, VA 22314 | 703.548.7877 | www.purplestrategies.com
  • What is The Purple Perspective?Unbiased, data-driven analysis of the political environmentthat helps our clients prepare for the future.Key metrics put in proper historical context to offer realinsight, not just the latest spin from either side.Updated regularly to provide the latest take on currentpolitical conditions. 2  
  • Overview Obama faces substantial headwinds going into the 2012 campaignStructural economic factors are driving a sour national moodPolling indicators are at critical levels compared to other incumbentsNonetheless, it remains too early for predictions: Numbers have changed dramatically in past re-election campaigns The GOP brand is not strong Obama is likely to have a 9 figure financial advantage 3  
  • What to watch… and not watch.Watch:   Fundraising numbers, including related Super PACs Monthly job numbers Obama job ratings at the national and state levelsAvoid:   Daily reports from the campaign trail Early head-to-head match-ups at either the state or national level 4  
  • By nearly every key metric, Obama is at a disadvantage compared toother incumbentsMetric Implications for IncumbentSTRUCTURALGrowth Rate in GDPUnemployment RateAverage Monthly Job CreationOPINIONPresidential ApprovalParty FavorabilitySatisfaction with Direction Of The CountryCurrent State of EconomyProspective Evaluation of EconomyPersonal Financial Situation Last YearExpected Financial Situation Next YearTOTAL
  • GDP growth is middling compared to others at this point Growth Rate in GDP (Through Second Quarter, Year 3) Reagan 9.3% Bush II 3.4% Bush I 2.7% Obama 1.0% Clinton 0.9% Carter 0.4%Source:  Bureau  of  Economic  Analysis   6  
  • There has been wide variance in GDP growth in election years Growth  Rate  in  GDP  (2005  Dollars)   20%   15%  Economic  Growth  Rate   10%   5%   0%   Carter   Reagan   Bush  I   -­‐5%   Clinton   Bush  II   Obama   -­‐10%   1/2   2/2   3/2   4/2   1/3   2/3   3/3   4/3   1/4   2/4   3/4   4/4   Source:  Bureau  of  Economic  Analysis   Quarter/Year  in  term   7  
  • 2011 unemployment puts Obama in a weak position Unemployment Rate (July, Year 3) Carter 5.7% Clinton 5.7% Bush II 6.2% Bush I 6.8% Obama 9.1% Reagan 9.4%Source:  Bureau  of  Labor  StaKsKcs   8  
  • Reagan saw dramatic improvements in unemployment during his re-election Unemployment  Rate   11%   Carter   Reagan   Bush  I   10%   Clinton  Unemployment  Rate   Bush  II   9%   Obama   8%   7%   6%   5%   4%   1/3   2/3   3/3   4/3   5/3   6/3   7/3   8/3   9/3   10/3   11/3   12/3   1/4   2/4   3/4   4/4   5/4   6/4   7/4   8/4   9/4   10/4   11/4   Source:  Bureau  of  Labor  StaKsKcs   Month/Year  in  term   9  
  • Monthly job creation is particularly troublesome Average Monthly Job Creation (Through July, Year 3) Carter 315 Clinton 253 Bush I 44 Reagan -16 Bush II -85 Obama -103Source:  Bureau  of  Labor  StaKsKcs   10  
  • Reagan’s spike in job creation during the election year buoyed him 1200   Average  Monthly  Job  CreaKon   Carter   1000   Reagan   Bush  I   Clinton   800   Bush  II  Jobs  Created,  In  Thousands   Obama   600   400   200   0   -­‐200   -­‐400   -­‐600   1/3   2/3   3/3   4/3   5/3   6/3   7/3   8/3   9/3   10/3   11/3   12/3   1/4   2/4   3/4   4/4   5/4   6/4   7/4   8/4   9/4   10/4   11/4   Source:  Bureau  of  Labor  StaKsKcs   Month/Year  in  term   11  
  • Obama’s job approval hovers at the low end for incumbents at this pointDo you approve or disapprove of theway _____ is handling his job as % Saying Approvepresident?   (August, Year 3) Bush I 69% Bush II 60% Clinton 45% Reagan 43% Obama 38% Carter 32%Source:  Gallup   12  
  • 50% appears to be a key demarcation line Do you approve or disapprove of the way _____ is handling his job as president?   90%   Job  Approval   80%   70%  %  Approving   60%   50%   40%   30%   Carter   Reagan   20%   Bush  I   Clinton   10%   Bush  II   Obama   0%   1/3   2/3   3/3   4/3   5/3   6/3   7/3   8/3   9/3   10/3  11/3  12/3   1/4   2/4   3/4   4/4   5/4   6/4   7/4   8/4   9/4   10/4  11/4   Month/Year  in  term   13   Source:  Gallup  
  • At the same time, the Republican brand is damaged The Democratic The Republican Party Party 47% 33% Favorable Unfavorable 47% 59% NET 0 -26Source:  CNN/Opinion  Research  CorporaKon   14  
  • Satisfaction with the country’s direction is very low In  general,  are  you  saKsfied  or  dissaKsfied  with   the  way  things  are  going  in  the  United  States   at  this  Kme?   % Saying Satisfied (August, Year 3) Bush II 46% Bush I 43% Clinton 32% Obama 11% Reagan --Source:  Gallup   15  
  • Watching the trend over time will be critical In  general,  are  you  saKsfied  or  dissaKsfied  with  the  way  things  are  going  in  the   United  States  at  this  Kme?   60%   SaKsfacKon  with  Ways  Things  Are  Going  in  the  US   50%  %  Saying  SaKsfied   40%   30%   20%   Bush  I   10%   Clinton   Bush  II   Obama   0%   1/3   2/3   3/3   4/3   5/3   6/3   7/3   8/3   9/3   10/3  11/3  12/3   1/4   2/4   3/4   4/4   5/4   6/4   7/4   8/4   9/4   10/4  11/4  Source:  Gallup   Month/Year  in  term   16  
  • Positive evaluations of the economy are low How  would  you  rate  economic  condiKons  in   this  country  today  -­‐-­‐  as  excellent,  good,  only   % Saying fair,  or  poor?   Excellent or Good (August, Year 3) Bush II 25% Obama 8% Clinton -- Bush I -- Reagan --Source:  Gallup   17  
  • Recent winning incumbents have seen upswings How  would  you  rate  economic  condiKons  in  this  country  today  -­‐-­‐  as  excellent,   good,  only  fair,  or  poor?   50%   Current  State  of  the  Economy   45%   Bush  I   40%   Clinton  %  Saying  Excellent/Good   Bush  II   35%   Obama   30%   25%   20%   15%   10%   5%   0%   1/3   2/3   3/3   4/3   5/3   6/3   7/3   8/3   9/3   10/3  11/3  12/3   1/4   2/4   3/4   4/4   5/4   6/4   7/4   8/4   9/4   10/4  11/4  Source:  Gallup   Month/Year  in  term   18  
  • Voters are slightly more optimistic about the direction of the economy thanunder Bush Sr. and Clinton at this point Do  you  think  the  naKonal  economy  is  geZng   be[er,  staying  the  same,  or  geZng  worse?   % Saying Better (August, Year 3) Reagan 50% Bush II 26% Obama 21% Bush I 17% Clinton 15% Source:  American  Research  Associates   *Pre-­‐May  2011  quesKon  wording:  For  each  item  I  name,  please  tell  me  if  it’s  geZng  BETTER,  geZng  WORSE,  or  staying  about  the  same.  How  about  [ITEM]?  Is  that   geZng  MUCH  be[er/worse  or  SOMEWHAT  be[er/worse?  The  naKonal  economy  (Washington  Post)   19  
  • However, Obama’s trend is in the wrong direction Do  you  think  the  naKonal  economy  is  geZng  be[er,  staying  the  same,  or   geZng  worse?   60%   Reagan   ProspecKve  Economic  EvaluaKon   Bush  I   Clinton   50%   Bush  II   Obama  %  Saying  GeRng  BeTer   40%   30%   20%   10%   0%   1/3   2/3   3/3   4/3   5/3   6/3   7/3   8/3   9/3   10/3  11/3  12/3   1/4   2/4   3/4   4/4   5/4   6/4   7/4   8/4   9/4   10/4  11/4  Source:  American  Research  Associates   Month/Year  in  term  *Pre-­‐May  2011  quesKon  wording:  For  each  item  I  name,  please  tell  me  if  it’s  geZng  BETTER,  geZng  WORSE,  or  staying  about  the  same.  How  about  [ITEM]?  Is  that   20  geZng  MUCH  be[er/worse  or  SOMEWHAT  be[er/worse?  The  naKonal  economy  (Washington  Post)  
  • Retrospective evaluations of the economy are at lows for an incumbent Would  you  say  that  you  (and  your  family  living   there)  are  be[er  off  or  worse  off  financially   than  you  were  a  year  ago?   % Saying Better (Dec., Year 2) Clinton 45% Bush II 41% Bush I 37% Reagan 36% Obama 23%Source:  Thomson  Reuters  and  The  University  of  Michigan  poll  *August  Year  3  data  available  for  previous  presidents;  December  Year  2  available  for  Obama       21  
  • There is not an upward trend going into 2012 Would  you  say  that  you  (and  your  family  living  there)  are  be[er  off  or  worse  off   financially  than  you  were  a  year  ago?   60%   Financial  SituaKon  Last  Year   50%  %  Saying  BeTer  Last  Year   40%   30%   20%   Reagan   10%   Bush  I   Clinton   Bush  II   Obama   0%   1/1   3/1   5/1   7/1   9/1   11/1   1/2   3/2   5/2   7/2   9/2   11/2   1/3   3/3   5/3   7/3   9/3   11/3   1/4   3/4   5/4   7/4   9/4   11/4   Month/Year  in  term   Source:  Thomson  Reuters  and  The  University  of  Michigan   22  
  • There is little optimism about potential economic improvement A  year  from  now,  do  you  expect  the  financial   situaKon  in  your  household  to  be  be[er  than  it  is   today,  the  same  as  it  is  today,  or  worse  than  it  is   % Saying Better (August, Year 3) today?   Reagan 37% Bush I 37% Clinton 37% Bush II 36% Obama 25% Source:  American  Research  Group     *Pre-­‐2011  quesKon  wording:  Now  looking  ahead-­‐-­‐do  you  think  that  a  year  from  now  you  (and  your  family  living  there)  will  be  be[er  off  financially,   or  worse  off,  or  just  about  the  same  as  now?  (Thomson  Reuters  and  The  University  of  Michigan)   23  
  • There has been a down-tick in the most recent data A  year  from  now,  do  you  expect  the  financial  situaKon  in  your  household  to  be  be[er  than   it  is  today,  the  same  as  it  is  today,  or  worse  than  it  is  today?   60%   Financial  SituaKon  Next  Year   50%  %  Saying  BeTer  Next  Year   40%   30%   20%   Reagan   Bush  I   10%   Clinton   Bush  II   Obama   0%   1/1   3/1   5/1   7/1   9/1   11/1   1/2   3/2   5/2   7/2   9/2   11/2   1/3   3/3   5/3   7/3   9/3   11/3   1/4   3/4   5/4   7/4   9/4   11/4   Month/Year  in  term   Source:  American  Research  Group     *Pre-­‐2011  quesKon  wording:  Now  looking  ahead-­‐-­‐do  you  think  that  a  year  from  now  you  (and  your  family  living  there)  will  be  be[er  off  financially,   or  worse  off,  or  just  about  the  same  as  now?  (Thomson  Reuters  and  The  University  of  Michigan)   24  
  • Summary, September 2011Metric Implications for IncumbentSTRUCTURALGrowth Rate in GDPUnemployment RateAverage Monthly Job CreationOPINIONPresidential ApprovalParty FavorabilitySatisfaction with Direction Of The CountryCurrent State of EconomyProspective Evaluation of EconomyPersonal Financial Situation Last YearExpected Financial Situation Next YearTOTAL
  • Future Purple Perspectives will include…Electoral calculationsFocus on Purple StatesParty prospects in Congress 26