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DECKER: Obama’s mythical 99%

White House popularity is sinking faster than the Titanic

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Illustration: Occupy Wall Street by John Camejo for The Washington Times

A brand new Cadillac Escalade hybrid rolled down the posh streets of Old Town Alexandria, Va., on Friday morning. On the tailgate of this $78,000 luxury SUV was an Obama campaign bumper sticker carrying a simple message: “99%.” These limousine liberals just don’t get it.

The 99 percent slogan rips off rhetoric from the Occupy movement, the confused collection of left-wing misfits and unemployed college graduates that has soiled public parks across America. According to this minority of malcontents, they represent the vast majority who are not served by The Establishment, whether that be banks, corporations, the school system, the military-industrial complex or whatever institution the paranoid mind perceives to be part of some ruling-class conspiracy to keep the masses down. These people aren’t losers, you see, they are the heroic but oppressed 99 percent. The remaining 1 percent are the privileged overlords. Somehow, President Obama, who is teeing up to play his 100th golf game since taking office three years ago, is worshipped by the liberal rabble as the savior of the little guy.

No matter what message the “99 percent” bumper sticker is supposed to convey, poll numbers expose a very different reality for the president. In most key areas, Mr. Obama doesn’t get support from 50 percent of voters, or half as many as the Democrats’ populist talking points claim to represent. For example, only 42 percent trust Mr. Obama more than Republican candidate Mitt Romney when it comes to handling the economy, according to Rasmussen Reports. The president might be hitting his challenger for his business experience as a venture capitalist, but the attacks aren’t working as Mr. Romney enjoys an 8-10 point lead on economic matters. Gallup pegged the president’s job approval at only 47 percent in May. Nationwide, Mr. Obama attracts 45 percent of voters compared to Mr. Romney’s 47 percent, as shown in Rasmussen’s daily presidential tracking poll on Friday.

Looking forward to the election in November, most indicators are tilted against the president’s re-election to a second term. Only 29 percent of likely voters think America is heading in the right direction, and 78 percent are worried about inflation. Those aren’t promising numbers for an incumbent. In the battle for the middle of the electorate, only 45 percent see Mr. Obama as mainstream compared to 52 percent for Mr. Romney, according to Rasmussen. Moderates bolting from the Obama bandwagon explains why he’s falling behind in states he won handily in 2008, especially in the Rust Belt. The Republican standard-bearer is now leading in Wisconsin, which Mr. Obama won by 14 points last time. Every dime Democrats spend in blue states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania is a dime not spent on swing states the president must win like Ohio, Florida and North Carolina.

Forget about 99 percent. A more realistic figure of support for Obama bumper stickers would be 45 percent. That might not look good on the back of some liberal’s Cadillac, but it accurately reflects Mr. Obama’s dire electoral outlook five months before the election.

Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He is coauthor of the new book “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, 2011).

About the Author

Brett M. Decker

Brett M. Decker, former Editorial Page Editor for The Washington Times, was an editorial page writer and editor for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, Senior Vice President of the Export-Import Bank, Senior Vice President of Pentagon Federal Credit Union, speechwriter to then-House Majority Whip (later Majority Leader) Tom DeLay and reporter and television producer for the legendary Robert ...

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