I don’t pay much attention to polls. I especially tend to ignore pre-election polls. But a recent poll regarding the incumbent President’s chances to win in November and the “fact” that single women may win him the White House, while it suggests that single women may be the smartest segment of the voting public, raises some interesting issues that have nothing to do with polls. A recent story tells us that
In 2008, Republican Senator John McCain beat Obama 52%-47% among married voters, according to exit polls, while the Democrat [Obama} thumped him 65%-33% among unmarried people. That suggests that Obama has lost ground among married voters and unmarried voters alike. A drop would hardly be a surprise: Americans are unhappy about the sour economy three and a half years after the president took office vowing to fix it.
To begin with, Obama is being hoist by his own petard, having embraced the notion of “change” in his candidacy four years ago. He was going to be the President of Change and turn things around. Every political candidate promises this, of course. But he made it the focal point of his campaign. Big Mistake. The remarkable thing is that we still believe these people — after repeated failures to deliver on campaign promises. Further, Americans want what they want when they want it. We are an impatient people and if we grant the President three years to turn the economy around and he hasn’t done it we want someone else in there who will.
The problem is, of course, Obama was trying to get things done with a Republican Congress that refused to cooperate at every turn. He used up all his chips on health care, and he didn’t have many to begin with. We are now so deeply entrenched in party politics and there isn’t a man or woman alive who could effect meaningful change trying to work with people who are ideologically opposed to them in the Congress. It is naive to suppose that even if this man did everything he could to turn the economy around he could have done it alone. It’s not clear that a Republican President could have done it. The economy is in the toilet and no one seems to know what the magic formula is to pull it out (though I would suggest cuts in “defense,” increasing taxes on the wealthy, closing corporate loop-holes, shifting tax subsidies from Big Oil to clean energy thereby creating more jobs and helping to save the planet — for a start. But what do I know?).
Political promises are made to be broken. We simply should accept that fact going in. Furthermore, change takes time — years in the case of complex problems that have no simple solutions and where the infamous 1% seem to be in charge. This group as we know includes many members of Congress and as a whole they don’t really want radical change: they are doing just fine with things as they are, thank you very much. Change may indeed come. But it will be very slow in coming and it may not be for the better.