Friday, March 25, 2016

While Republicans Writhe and Twitch, Obama's Approval Ratings Go Positive

Trump or Cruz, Trump or Cruz, what's a party to do? Reach for the Pepto.

Barack Obama is doing better in the polls these days. Why? Compared to what?

Presidents who've done reasonably well during their presidencies tend to see their numbers rise in the final year or so of their last term. Almost all presidents experience negative numbers at one time or another. But if they haven't been awful -- like George W. Bush, for example -- they make a comeback while they're singing their swan song.

I can't help but compare favorables of the Republican candidates with Obama's, which have turned positive in recent weeks. Trump is disliked and distrusted by 63 percent of the American public, while Ted Cruz doesn't fare much better at 33/51 favorable/unfavorable. People don't like these two.

That doesn't always mean much. The term "hold their noses and vote for..." is quite common. After all, Hillary Clinton's numbers are negative, too, at 41/54. Yet we know that a lot of that damage will dissipate by the time of the general. By the way, Clinton's numbers were really great after her term as Secretary of State, at 63/28; it was only after she announced her candidacy and the right-wing machine went after her on Benghazi and her email server, both phony scandals of the highest order, that her numbers drifted south. Consider her polling was still at 52/42 in February of 2015.

(I'm no Hillary shill, but face it, there's absolutely no there there with Benghazi -- remember her shredding of the House Benghazi Committee members, who, after 11 hours, gaveled the hearing in defeat -- and the email server is yet another cooked up story. When you think of this email server scandal, repeat after me: NOTHING HAPPENED.)

As soon as Clinton defeats Sanders for the Democratic nomination, her favorables will return to positive territory, if not back to the stratospheric heights of Jan. 2013, while Donald Trump's numbers will never be positive. As for Ted Cruz, I can see his numbers reaching a 48/48 zone, with a lot of people trotting out the "I'm holding my nose and voting for Cruz because for heaven's sake, Hillary??"

Final thought on Barack Obama: His last year will represent a strong underpinning for Hillary Clinton's chances. It's very hard for a political party to win a third term in a row, especially if the retiring president has negative numbers. After the economy remains firm, if not flying, and the war against ISIS is largely over and successful -- yes, I predict virtual victory within months -- with Obama picking up points for his handling of his SCOTUS nomination, Cuba, and Iran, the landscape will be set to aid a Democratic victory. By and large, Obama's legacy is positive in both the short- and long-term.

That's good for Dems up and down the ballot. Trump and Cruz? If I were a Republican, I'd be running away from them at full speed. Only, to where, to whom?

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