Things aren’t looking so good for President Barack Obama.
The tax deal he cut with congressional Republicans has created chaos on his left. His other victories--the stimulus package, the new healthcare law and the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell" policies--are discordant rather than inclusive, meaning that just as many Americans if not more oppose them than embrace them. And, as pollster Scott Rasmussen reported Friday, “For the first time since he became president, only 35 percent of voters say Barack Obama thinks society is fair and decent.” Obama is a divisive political figure--not at all the post-partisan unifier he promised he would be when running for president in 2008. All of which spells trouble with a capital “T” as far as his re-election hopes are concerned. [See a roundup of editorial cartoons about 'don't ask, don't tell.]
Added on to that is the mathematics of reapportionment. Every 10 years the census count is used to determine just how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, which in turn affects the numbers of votes each state has in the Electoral College that determines who the next president will be. According to figures released Tuesday, the projected shift in seats will make it just that much harder for Obama to win reelection in 2012.
The pattern over the last several decades has seen states in the Northeast and industrial Midwest losing seats to the South and Southwest--a movement of from states that are generally, evenly reliably, Democrat at the presidential level to states Republicans routinely win. That pattern, according to the latest estimates, continues this year.
Democratic New York and toss up Ohio are expected to lose two seats each while reliably Republican Texas is expected to gain as many as four. GOP-leaning Florida and Arizona will each gain one, possibly two seats. Presidentially Republican Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Democratic Washington will probably each gain a single seat while Democratic Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Republican Louisiana may each lose one. [Read more about the 2012 presidential election.]
All told, it’s a significant shift in seats from Democratic territory to places that are Republican strongholds, which will not only produce a GOP-run House of Representatives for the next decade but will also make it tougher for Obama to win a majority of votes in the Electoral College--especially if he continues to move to the left in his battles with Congress.