Posted by | November 6, 2011 20:09 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Nate Silver has a thorough analysis of the 2012 election up and his basic conclusion is that Obama is 50-50 for re-election.  He is an underdog if Romney is the nominee and if the economy shows no growth and a favorite if neither of these conditions hold.  I think Silver underestimates the President’s chances for one reason.  He doesn’t discuss the very real split in the GOP.  For example from a Miami Herald article on the Florida Tea Party:

It’s not lost on many tea party conservatives that after helping Republicans win the U.S. House and elect the likes of Marco Rubio to the Senate and Rick Scott as governor of Florida, they face the prospect of a presidential nominee hardly known for uncompromising conservative leadership. The former Massachusetts governor used to support gun control. He enacted a health care plan on which the federal health care overhaul was modeled. More recently, he refused initially to take a position on whether Ohio should restrict unions’ collective bargaining rights.

“Romney’s so wishy-washy. He’s on both sides of all these issues, and you never know where he really stands,” said retiree Robert Gottschalk of The Villages, who said he might write in the name of a “real conservative” rather than vote for Romney.

I wouldn’t say Governor Romney can’t win (especially if Europe drags us into another recession) but he is going to have a tough time if he has to both shore up the base and appeal to the center.  Even a flip-flopper like Mitt might not be able to change positions fast enough.  And Governor Perry needs the economic meltdown to even have a chance (again not impossible but unlikely).  And that’s why smart money is still on the President.
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Copyright 2011 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.