Since there were complaints about “hijacking” discussion of the French elections with speculation on how it affects ours, I decided to move this to a new thread.
Conventional wisdom is: if the economy is bad, Obama will lose. The Euro collapsing will make the economy bad. Therefore, if the Euro collapses, Obama will lose.
Now, it’s not just Democrats who would be affected if this comes to pass, obviously, since the economy affects everyone. But this is the Elections forum, and with economists like Paul Krugman making speculations like this, it’s hard not to wonder.
One interesting possible angle: if (and I realize this isn’t a resolved question yet) everything I said above is true, how will it affect what Obama and his foes (both political and otherwise) do in the next few months, in terms of messaging, policy, etc.?
People aren’t complete idiots. They can make at least some judgment as to what’s causing economic events. And you’d have to be pretty far into the right-wing echo chamber before you’d blame the US president for the collapse of the European currency.
And besides, I can’t really see the Euro collapsing, anyway. Worst case scenario, they figure out some way to justify kicking Greece out, and I’m not even sure that’s all that likely.
Disagree. For the purposes of elections, swing voters are dolts. And I can see the euro collapsing.
The problem is that there’s typically a 12 to 18 month lag between currency depreciation and effects on trade. So while I can’t rule out a euro led economic catastrophe for the US in 2012, I don’t judge it highly likely. That said, while US growth is projected at 2.0% this year, those forecasts aren’t that great and another adverse economic shock can’t be ruled out.
Bumping because my query has been mentioned/brought up in other threads, and I thought consolidating thoughts on this line of questioning would be interesting, especially comparing those who think it’ll make a difference vs. who doesn’t, and why.
And good catch on the nitpick, BG; it makes sense when you think about it, but I just didn’t think about it.
As for the topic at hand… It seems a little unfair (though obviously the idea of “fair” is laughable when it comes to life, and most especially politics), though perhaps “ironic” in a sense, that the fate of this country and its government could (or seems to right now, at least to me) hinge on what happens in Europe. It also makes me wonder whether it’d be at all possible for interested parties to manipulate events there to nudge things to advantage a particular candidate (either way, although obviously an economic crashed caused by the euro breaking up would harm quite a few business interests, to say the least).
I know this doesn’t say a lot about the election proper, but if his theories are correct, we can take a look at it in that context as far as what we think the reaction here at home will be, and how politicos will react to the possibilities/realities.
That’s how it usually works, all right. But, that depends on a public perception that the other guy will be better for the economy. And I think Romney will have a somewhat harder time building that perception than, say, FDR had in 1932, or Reagan in 1980, or Clinton in 1992, or Obama in 2000.
But easier if the Republicans get across the message to independents/undecideds (even tacitly, no matter how silly it is intellectually) that Obama('s politics) caused the Euro to collapse and/or the economy to go bad. Which they will certainly try, but it’s up for debate how successful they’d be.
The Bystander (10% of adult population, 0% of registered voters) vote is one you can’t get, by definition. “Defined by their disengagement from the political process, either by choice or because they are ineligible to vote. They are highly unlikely to vote (61% say they seldom vote, and 39% volunteer that they never vote; none are currently registered to vote). Most follow government and public affairs only now and then (42%) or hardly at all (23%).”
The Libertarians (9%/10%) won’t vote for Obama; they might vote for Romney, but they might well vote for Gary Johnson or write in Ron Paul or stay home. “Highly critical of government. Disapprove of social welfare programs. Pro-business and strongly opposed to regulation. Accepting of homosexuality. Moderate views about immigrants compared with other Republican-oriented groups.”
The Post-Moderns (13%/14%) are “Strongly supportive of regulation and environmental protection. Favor the use of diplomacy rather than military force to ensure peace. Generally positive about immigrants and their contributions to society.” Obama could win these.
The Disaffecteds (11%/11%): “The most financially stressed of the eight typology groups, Disaffecteds are very critical of both business and government. They are sympathetic to the poor and supportive of social welfare programs. Most are skeptical about immigrants and doubtful that the U.S. can solve its current problems. They are pessimistic about their own financial future. . . . A majority believe that the government is wasteful and inefficient and that regulation does more harm than good. But nearly all say too much power is concentrated in a few companies. Religious and socially conservative.” A group that mistrusts government but wants more welfare programs, that is socially/religiously conservative but mistrusts business elites, could go either way in this election. They’ll be the battleground.
The Disaffecteds? At the risk of sounding cynical, I don’t think it will affect them much at all. Demographically, they’re low-educated – “About three-quarters (77%) are non-Hispanic white and two-thirds (66%) have only a high school education or less.” I doubt they’re sophisticated enough even to follow arguments linking the euro crisis to American economic performance. And I think Romney is on some level aware of that and will not even touch on the euro in his speeches and campaign-messaging.
The messaging is sorta irrelevant, since there’s no particular reason to think that it’s the message or even each candidate’s policies that are what make economic effects so prevalent in elections.
But even to the extent the messaging is relevant, it will have nothing to do with the euro. Other than perhaps preposterously equating the US to Greece, Romney will just go on launching attacks on Obama for having screwed up the economy by enacting health care reform, or whatever the theory du jour is, without regard to any actual cause of the current conditions.
The problem is that right now, with the Euro intact, the US economy is already widely seen as only slowly and tentatively recovering. Unemployment is still at 8%, and the polls consistently show that Obama’s biggest weakness is the economy (his personal favorability, OTOH, is still very solid).
If things were booming and unemployment dropping like a rock, then a Euro collapse put us back in a tailspin, Obama could say it was out of his control and easily be believed. When people are already unsure of his handling of the recovery, it’s a much harder sell.
Of course, if the euro blows up, then most likely petroleum demand in Europe will fall dramatically. Thus leading to oversupply and falling gas prices at the pump in the US. This could swing many of the economic dimwits into thinking things are getting better and voting for Obama.
I didn’t give this point as much attention as it deserved. It’s a good one.
Then I revise (slightly) the current conventional wisdom as I understand it: if the economy is good/recovering/neutral, Obama will win. If the economy is bad, Obama will lose. If the Euro collapses, the economy will be bad. The voters will just see that the economy is bad, and blame Obama (as Romney/his super PACs certainly will), regardless of actual reason. Therefore, if the Euro collapses, Obama will lose.
So do we even need polls? Should we be paying attention solely to key economic indicators, and be confident that watching just them will tell us the whole political story?
I know other posts have already addressed this; this is just for clarity/a possible new thought path.
Bumping this, because I think my assertions in the last post are still good, and analysis I’ve read of this set of articles (on a liberal site, yes, but it’s a convenient amalgamation of a variety of other sources) seem to say (if the analysis there is true) that the Euro will meet its maker (or at least its turning point) before November.
I still think a Euro collapse, and the attendant economic damage, could very well erase everything Obama does and says previous to then, including his leads in the battleground states, but I realize not everyone thinks so.