Why incumbency matters

Barack Obama may be one of the worst presidents in recent memory but that doesn't mean he can't get re-elected in 2012.

A Pew survey shows one of the advantages of incumbency:

President Obama would deliver a shellacking to a generic Republican candidate if 2012's presidential election were held today, a new poll found Wednesday.Forty-seven percent of registered voters said they would choose to reelect Obama, compared to 35 percent who would prefer an unnamed Republican candidate, while 16 percent were undecided, a Pew Research Center poll found.

That puts Obama at basically the same position as President George W. Bush at a similar point in his presidency, and a stronger standing than President Clinton held in March of 1995.

Those figures could seem discouraging to the crop of Republicans considering a challenge to Obama in 2012, from which a clear front-runner has yet to emerge, according to the same Pew poll.

Pah! That last bit is nonsense. More than a year and a half out, nobody in the GOP field is "discouraged." That's idiocy.

And, as you all know, a poll taken a year and a half out from the election without even a named opponent is useless as far as any indication of who will win.

But it does reveal why incumbency is such a big advantage.

As bad as things are, as much as Obama has screwed things up, 47% of registered voters would stick with the horse they know. That's the key. We are a conservative country who doesn't much like change if we can help it. The GOP candidate is going to have to do more than simply offer themselves as an alternative. They are going to have to give a compelling reason for people to change horses in midstream. This is hard to do, which is why we don't celebrate John Kerry, Walter Mondale, or Bob Dole on President's Day.


Barack Obama may be one of the worst presidents in recent memory but that doesn't mean he can't get re-elected in 2012.

A Pew survey shows one of the advantages of incumbency:

President Obama would deliver a shellacking to a generic Republican candidate if 2012's presidential election were held today, a new poll found Wednesday.

Forty-seven percent of registered voters said they would choose to reelect Obama, compared to 35 percent who would prefer an unnamed Republican candidate, while 16 percent were undecided, a Pew Research Center poll found.

That puts Obama at basically the same position as President George W. Bush at a similar point in his presidency, and a stronger standing than President Clinton held in March of 1995.

Those figures could seem discouraging to the crop of Republicans considering a challenge to Obama in 2012, from which a clear front-runner has yet to emerge, according to the same Pew poll.

Pah! That last bit is nonsense. More than a year and a half out, nobody in the GOP field is "discouraged." That's idiocy.

And, as you all know, a poll taken a year and a half out from the election without even a named opponent is useless as far as any indication of who will win.

But it does reveal why incumbency is such a big advantage.

As bad as things are, as much as Obama has screwed things up, 47% of registered voters would stick with the horse they know. That's the key. We are a conservative country who doesn't much like change if we can help it. The GOP candidate is going to have to do more than simply offer themselves as an alternative. They are going to have to give a compelling reason for people to change horses in midstream. This is hard to do, which is why we don't celebrate John Kerry, Walter Mondale, or Bob Dole on President's Day.


RECENT VIDEOS