You would think President Obama would be doing worse. The economy is staggering like a punch- drunk sailor, the Wall Streeters who loved him in '08 are angry about his tax plan, and -- as if he doesn't have enough fights on his hands -- he keeps poking social conservatives and "build-a- wall" tea partiers in the eye over same-sex marriage and immigration.
Yet, somehow, even after the latest jobs report lands with a lead-balloon Thunk!, his ratings are actually improving. It's like he's wearing a Teflon shield, and none of the bad economic news sticks.
Maybe it's the ears and the goofy smile. It happened again Thursday, right after Mitt Romney and the Republicans were roasting him over the dismal jobs report and unemployment staying stuck at 8.2 percent.
"There's a lot of misery in America today," Romney interrupted his family vacation to say. "These numbers understate what people are feeling and the amount of pain which is occurring in middle-class America."
Take that, Obama!
Hispanic Republicans got really nasty. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus issued a statement Tuesday that was just, well ... see for yourself:
"Once again," the group's vice chairman, Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco of Texas, wrote, "the American people have received another dismal jobs report that unfortunately has become the hallmark of the Obama economy. Instead of a report showing robust job growth that would indicate a growing economy, the American people have learned that June is the 41st straight month that the unemployment rate has been above 8%, a mere 80,000 jobs were created, almost 13 million Americans are still without work, participating in the labor force continues to be at near historic lows because so many Americans have given up looking for work, and the real unemployment rate actually edged up to 14.9%."
"Once again the unemployment report continues to show that the president's economic policies are holding our economy back," Rep. Bill Flores of Texas added.
OK, you get it. They don't like the guy.
But somehow, through it all, Obama's poll numbers just seem to float along. Or -- WTF?! -- improving.
A national survey from the Pew Research Center released Wednesday shows him gaining. It put him ahead of Romney 50 percent to 43. He holds a similar 7- point lead in the 12 "battleground" states, the ones where things are supposed to be tightest between him and Romney.
And, get this, when the pollsters asked voters who they thought would do the best job of fixing the economy, they picked Obama. And not by a little. By a lot. They said the president would do a better job than Romney by a 48 percent to 42 spread.
Even more stunning is how sharp a turnaround that is. Last month, when they were asked the same question, voters said Romney, by 49 percent to 41.
What's up with that?
And it's not just Pew showing this Teflon Obama trend.
The jobs report has been stagnant since April, but Gallup's daily tracking poll has shown the president and the Mittster virtually neck-and-neck from the end of April until this month when -- huh? -- Obama took a slight lead. What?!
Polls in Florida, Virginia and North Carolina showed about the same. A virtual tie for months. Romney's winning by one point in the Sunshine State, Obama by one in the Tar Heel State. The pres is ahead by five or more in Virginia. And has been.
They're tied in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, 47 to 47, but they haven't been more than three or four percentage points apart since mid-April.
It might be because we seem to be seeing the economic news through political party-colored lenses. Republicans see all the bad economic news as Obama's fault. Democrats blame George W. Bush. And even still, it's almost the same for both -- 83 percent of Republicans say it's all the president's fault; but 90 percent fault W.
Those all have to be worrisome numbers for the Romney campaign folks. He's been playing the race like a one-trick pony, betting it all on "The economy stinks. Dump Obama!"
But, so far at least, it doesn't seem to be registering.
Maybe people have already made up their minds. Maybe we should just go ahead and hold the election now and stop wasting time.
Sure the unemployment rate has been stuck at 8.2 percent for the last two months. And, sure, no president since Roosevelt has been re-elected with a rate above 7.2. But Obama might be the one to defy the odds.
Source: Terra/Carlos Harrison