I've run into a rather strange and obnoxious trope in various comment threads over the past few weeks. A usually anonymous poster wails that there's no point in campaigning against Obama due to the fact that he has a certain percentage of the vote "locked up." This is generally stated as around 40%, sometimes the lone figure, sometimes "35 to 40%." Whatever the case, the poster announces that all Obama needs is to pick up 11% and he's got in it the bag. And, you know, Rahm and George will take care of that for him, so why bother?
Never is the number explicitly broken down into discrete groups. No details are offered, no references given. At the most, a vague reference is made to ACORN or Chicago graveyards as the source of such votes. (I suppose they could be thinking of O's favorability rating, which is around 40%, [Whoops! It's been heading down], but they don't say so, and no direct correlation exists between "favorability" and actual votes.)
There being no point in arguing over assumptions, we will instead examine actual numbers derived from the real world. Out here, liberals constitute about 20% of the voting population. This is a solid number, confirmed by several polling organizations including Gallup, Pew, and Rasmussen. While the exact figure has varied from 18% to 21%, it always within one or two points of the one-fifth total. The liberal vote is slowly sliding toward extinction. (In case you were wondering, the conservative vote is around 40%.)
But not even this represents a guaranteed vote for Obama, since the more radical liberal-leftists are annoyed with him for not being liberal enough -- Bush and Cheney were not hanged, and that awful Palin woman is still gadding about on television. But we'll put this aside, since, as liberal pundits have taken to saying over the past few weeks, they'll vote for Obama because they have no place else to go.
Other blocs awarded to Obama include blacks, Jews, Hispanics, and the youth vote. (We'll ignore all claims of a "welfare vote," there being no such thing.) Many of these voters would be included under the "liberal" fifth and should not be counted separately. But we'll overlook that factor since, as results will show, it's scarcely relevant.
Dick Morris has kindly done the spadework for us here, analyzing several recent Fox polls dealing with Obama's favorability ratings. According to Fox, Obama's popularity among young voters and Hispanics has dropped to 44%. That is, just above the general level of 39%-40%. It is clear that O has lost a large proportion of whatever manna he possessed with these groups. That will inevitably be reflected in the vote.
As for the Jewish vote, Bob Turner's epochal victory in NY-9 reveals it to be in play, in large part due to Obama's disdain for Israeli security.
But of course he can depend on the black vote...can't he? Incredibly, even that most monolithic of American voting blocs has begun to crack in recent weeks. A September 20 Washington Post story reports that Obama's "strongly favorable" rating among blacks has fallen from 83% to 58%. This is astonishing -- most blacks have shown a devoted loyalty to Democratic candidates of whatever background since the New Deal era. That this bond should begin to fray under the tenure of the first black president is a topic that should get more attention than it is likely to receive.
But what of Obama's most critical bloc -- the independents? It was independent voters who put him over the top in 2008, breaking for him in a big way during the last weeks of the election. Could the same happen in 2012? Not according to a recent McClatchy/Marist poll, which found that independents intend to vote against Obama by a margin of 53% to 28%. These numbers can only get worse for Obama. In 2008, he pulled them in due to the excitement of the moment, all the media-bred "messiah" nonsense. There is no excitement surrounding Obama in this race.
So we can put aside all notions of O commanding a winning or even near-winning percentage of the vote. In fact, we can put aside more than that. The same McClatchy/Marist poll quoted above also found that 49 percent to 36 percent definitely plan to vote against him, and 52 to 38 percent expect him to lose, no matter whom he's running against.
The point is this: Obama at the beginning of the election cycle explicitly controls no single voting bloc. Not one of the blocs that went his way so avidly in 2008 remains unquestionably in his corner. Far from it -- a near-majority fully intends to vote against him. This is unprecedented in American presidential politics. No president in recent decades, and perhaps no president ever, has been in such a miserable position a year before the election.
Can he pull out of it? Anything's possible, but it seems unlikely. It's hard to see exactly what accomplishment would turn things around for him. Though lucky enough to have Osama bin Laden killed on his watch, he derived no more than a flea-sized bounce from that victory. Short of his defeating the King of the Morlocks in single combat, it's not at clear what actions would benefit him.
Another widely-discussed scenario involves Obama taking the LBJ route -- that is, stepping aside for the good of the country and allowing someone else to take up the party standard. There are two problems with this: Obama's narcissism and the simple fact that the white establishment cannot ask the first black president to do any such thing. Even if he agreed, public perception would be that the black man had once again been given the short end, with both black and true-believer leftist voters sitting out the election in protest. No, this particular albatross could not be more firmly attached. There is no simple way for the Democrats to avoid taking the hit.
Lastly, as I have mentioned before, and it deserves repeating, paid left-wing trolls do not appear on our comments pages simply to insult and argue, though they do plenty of both. They also log on to insert disinformation intended to create confusion and sow despair. This appears to be such a case. Do not hesitate to call such people out, even if only to demand the source of their numbers. Since there is no source, what you will get in return is the customary bile, which will hurt no one and, if nasty enough, will be intercepted by our sterling moderator staff. We face the prospect of a very dirty campaign, one that will be fought out as much on our sites as anywhere else. We must not let them utilize AT -- or any other conservative site -- as a transmission belt for left-liberal disinformation.
J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker.