By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, the Calbuzz California Consultanate – a collection of the smartest and most experienced political consultants and strategists in the state – predicts Barack Obama will be re-elected in a closely-fought election.
Twenty-five members of the 28-member Calbuzz Advisory Board of the World’s Leading Authorities on Practically Everything – all 14 Democrats and 11 of 14 Republicans — responded to our inaugural question: Who will be sworn in as president of the United States on January 20, 2013?
In a Democrat-tinged respondent pool, 12 of the 14 Democrats predicted Obama’s re-election, one predicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry and one said he hasn’t a clue. Of the Republican panelists who responded, apparently unpersuaded by the recent Newt Gingrich rebound, seven see former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney winning while four – with regret – predict that Obama will win.
“All the fundamentals – right track/wrong direction, approval rating, unemployment rate, etc. — point to a Republican victory,” said one GOP panelist. “All but one: never underestimate the ability of the Republicans to blow an opportunity. In this case, they will be blowing it by sticking to the principles they won on in 2010.”
Moreover, this Republican said, “What is emerging is that Mitt Romney is the only electable Republican running. But he has a very limited ability to excite the base, and that will be less after a billion dollars of hammering from the Obama camp. So for starters, the Republican ticket will not be very compelling. Newt would be more exciting but also a potentially bigger turnoff. too.”
Said another Republican: “Romney seems strong now because of how weak the Republican field is. One-on-one with Obama is a very different dynamic that will tough for him.”
Much as Calbuzz would like to attribute quotes to our panelists, in order to encourage candor — without them having to worry about little things like burning bridges and losing business – we’re not identifying who said what.
Like the Democrat who said, “Obama doesn’t get re-elected. Reasons: economy, independent voters who have buyer’s remorse, depressed and disappointed liberals, fewer paths to victory on electoral map and if the third-party effort, American Elect, gets legs, their candidates will likely be to Obama was Ross Perot was to Bush 41.”
This consultant, by the way, is the only one predicting that Perry will emerge from the GOP pack: “Once in the voting booth, the Tea Party and conservatives are just not going to be able to stomach voting for Romney. Ultimately, they will look around at all of the other candidates and decide that Perry is their choice . . . Put Perry in the general (election) with his statements and positions on immigration as governor of Texas and he puts together enough of the Latino vote to put Colorado and New Mexico – must-have states if Ohio and Florida don’t vote Dem – out of reach for Obama.”
Or another Democrat who said, “The Republican field is not particularly relevant to the president’s re-election chances. It depends on whether he can convince people he has a plan for the economy and the future.”
These, by the way, are not the commonly held viewpoint among Democratic consultants and strategists.
Who will win? “Obama,” said one Dem. “I present the following arguments in support of my case: Romney, Perry, Cain, Bachmann and Gingrich. And, of course, the Calbuzz piece dated 11/7/2011.”
More pearls of wisdom from Democratic panelists:
— Obama. But it will be a very tough and close campaign . . .Romney will not be easy to defeat – but his long record of flip-flopping will alienate the conservative base to such a degree that he will not be able to generate enough excitement to win a tough race. Obama, on the other hand, will turn on the charm and ramp up his (up until now ignored) base, especially African Americans, who will not let the first black president go down without an historic fight . . . PS Perry’s debate performance made Howard Dean’s scream look like a minor bump in the road. One of the all-time defining moments in a presidential campaign ever.
— Obama will win . . . more because the Republican field is pathetic. “Mittens” is the likely winner, but has flip-flopped more than a tuna on the deck of a boat.
— The way the election is going now, I think Obama will not have an easy time of it, but I do think in the end he’ll prevail. That’s assuming he runs a campaign similar in quality to the effort last time and with the money they are raising, that should be possible.
— As much as history points to no president being re-elected with unemployment numbers this high, there is no sign that the GOP can get its act together and nominate anyone capable of defeating Obama. As amazing as it may be the GOP is poised to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory — what a party!
— Barack Obama — and by a landslide. With the exception of a handful of southern states and a couple in the upper midwest, Obama will win handily.
— Obama will be re-elected, despite a sluggish economy, because Mitt Romney has the ultimate glass jaw — he made his fortune on a business model at Bain Capitol predicated on downsizing and off-shoring companies — making what Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina did on the jobs-killer front look like they merely downsized and off-shored a lemonade stand (and we saw just how vulnerable both were on this issue with DTS voters in CA) . . . Now, for Obama to be able take advantage of Mitt Gekko’s glass jaw, he will need to: (1) Have some economic growth — even if anemic there has to be growth; (2) Provide the country a real sense of his actual vision of where are going that demonstrates leadership, begins to address the abiding fear of the decline of America and gives him a foundation for making a compare and contrast; and (3) Leverage his personal likeability (astoundingly high considering right track/wrong track and job approval).
— New boss, same as the old boss. The next president of the United States will be Barack Hussein Obama. Other than in 1980, the White House has not been won back by the other party after only four years since 1896 — and even in the latter case, the sitting president, Grover Cleveland, had lost the Democratic nomination to run for another term. And Carter in ’76 had defeated our first-ever appointed president. Romney, the probable GOP nominee, combines most of the worst features of Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry. That’s some feat — and it won’t get him to the White House.
— This election will be closer than ‘08 but President Obama will be re-elected . When the race becomes a comparative choice, all the Republicans including Romney will have difficulty appealing to swing voters. The Republican nomination race is so far out in right field, it will take the Republicans at least two presidential elections to get anywhere near the middle.
— Obama will win a second term. The GOP keystone-coppery of a primary is doing nothing to move their needle. That coupled with a (slowly) recovering economy, solid foreign policy credentials (Bin Laden, Gaddafi, etc.) and a superior campaign team will be the difference.
— As soon as the Republican nomination is settled, voters will begin to see this election as a choice, not a referendum on the president or the economy. The Obama campaign will have the resources to tell their story, set the record straight, and draw the contrast. The American people (or at least those in swing states) will learn about the clear choice between a president fighting to create jobs and restore the economy and a Republican nominee whose priority is cutting funding for job creation and education so that millionaires don’t have to pay their fair share.
GOP Strategists Pick Romney
Most of the Republican panelists see the upcoming election as a referendum on Obama whom, they believe, will be found wanting by a majority of voters. In their view, as one GOP panelist put it, the dynamics are pretty straight-forward: “It’s the economy stupid.”
Some of the other Republican perspectives:
— I think there is a President Romney in our future. He actually does well in Iowa and wins in Hew Hampshire and it is off to the races.
— Presidential Job Approval in low 40s and Wrong Track over 70% is a deadly combination for an incumbent president. So I say Romney, with two caveats: First, that there is no wacky Tea Party independent candidacy and second, Romney steps up and defines himself with a big bold governing agenda (and 59 Point Plans ain’t it).
— Mitt Romney. If he can get past the primary, Romney is the best contrast for voters concerned about the economy and creating the conditions that allow businesses to create jobs. The margin will be razor thin as President Obama will use every possible resource to his advantage but in the end James Carville’s words (It’s the Economy Stupid) will prove as true in 2012 as they were 20 years ago.
— Mitt Romney should be the next president, if he focuses back on the economy and stops making ads attacking immigrants. The GOP nominee needs to get about 40% of the Latino vote to win the White House, right now Romney won’t get that, ironically enough Newt Gingrich might.”
— The United States will swear in its first Mormon president on January 20, 2013. Both Romney and his campaign have been impressive. They have been disciplined, focused, polished and systematic. Romney is the only GOP candidate who is actually trying to win the party nod without simultaneously losing his ability to attract swing voters in the general. President Obama and his talented campaign team will be armed with a billion dollar war chest so it’s going to be a close, hard fought and bitter race. At the end of the day, the American people are significantly worse off than they were four years ago and exploiting social issues isn’t enough to get the guy sitting in the Oval Office re-elected given the nation’s fundamental economic realities.
Calbuzz will be checking back with our panel on this question throughout the presidential campaign. As noted in the link above, you can see our list of panelists by clicking here.