Obama’s Good News

Aug 1 2012 @ 3:30pm

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The NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac swing state polls must come as a relief in Chicago. The leads in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania are solid – and very dangerous for Romney. But more salient is the following, it seems to me:

Support for President Obama's proposal to increase taxes on households making more than $250,000 per year is 58 – 37 percent in Florida, 60 – 37 percent in Ohio and 62 – 34 percent in Pennsylvania, the survey by Quinnipiac/CBS/The Times finds.

The key in the debates will be for Obama to focus on shared sacrifice to cut the debt and on Romney's plan to exempt the super-rich from any sacrifice at all, and balance the budget entirely on the backs of the poor and old and sick. The truth is: the Ayn Rand position on the debt is way out of the mainstream and yet Romney is stuck with it. Combined with the Obama camp's successful definition of him as a money-grubbing, penny-pinching one percenter, it could conceivably decide the election – as, of course, it should. The plans of both men to tackle the debt should be front and center – and Obama's is the fairer, more logical, more effective and more conservative of the two.

Meanwhile, revisions to personal income data have bumped Obama up in the 538 forecast. Originally, personal income was measured as increasing 1.3 percent in the first quarter of the year. That has been revised up to 4.6 percent, followed by a second quarter gain of 4.1 percent. Nate notes:

The new data is reasonably strongly correlated with Mr. Obama’s approval ratings — which dipped in the fall of last year (when personal income growth is now reported as having been negative) but recovered in the first few months of this year. Mr. Obama’s approval ratings have not lost much ground since then, despite other economic data series (including the jobs numbers) having been fairly weak.

Way too soon for any complacency – but it's not bad news. Unless the jobs report next Friday is a clunker.