The last two presidents to lose a re-election campaign were Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. This cycle, Romney is trying to lump Obama in with them. Regardless of his fundraising and campaign spending, the GOP hopeful seems to be facing an uphill battle that is being ignored elsewhere as Obama's approval rating is climbing.
As journalists and pundits scrap for stories to keep campaign fever alive they’ve been overlooking one major difference between Carter, Bush 41, and Obama. During the last annual quarter leading into campaign season, Carter and Bush trailed Obama's approval rating by 11 and 7 points respectively.
The most recent Gallup public opinion poll put Obama's approval rating at 46.8%, its highest in a year. The number still lags behind the critical 50% mark on November 6, but his campaign is still receiving good news.
Comparing the last two failed re-election campaigns, Obama is well ahead of the 40% mark that Carter and Bush 41 could not reach during their 14th quarter. Keeping his numbers steady will keep his re-election prospects high.
The President will focus on maintaining or increasing the approval rating numbers in the coming months, as pushing the poll numbers over 50% will nearly guarantee re-election. No president has improved approval numbers more than 2 points this close to election, or lost more than 4.
The results of this poll could be interesting for the upcoming campaign season. Expect to see an influx of money to the Romney campaign as they respond to increasing public approval and see their campaign efforts failing to push public opinion away from Obama.
For now the Democrats will celebrate Obama’s approval rating and get to work trying to push them a few points higher while Romney and the GOP fundraise to push Mitt into the spotlight and eventually the White House.