James Pethokoukis

Will Democrats lose 100 House seats?

September 2, 2010

Certainly the “whisper estimate” for Democratic House loses is now 50+ with plenty of upside risk. But my pal Andy Roth at the Club for Growth thinks the upside number could be quite large, indeed:

Why only 41 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance

August 18, 2010

The latest Gallup numbers are not good for the White House or congressional Democrats. The overnight tracking has Barack Obama’s approval-disapproval rating at 41 percent-52 percent. Based on the Rahm Emanuel formulation that for every point below 50 percent, the Dems lose five House seats, it looks like the GOP will take the lower chamber. This bit from a Weekly Standard piece I did pretty much explains it:

Black Wednesday and the 2010 midterms

August 11, 2010

I think we can officially declare Recovery Summer dead. Here is today’s tale of the economic tape.
Here is IHS Global:

Poll: Americans dubious of government forgiving mortgages

August 9, 2010

Superpollster Scott Rasmussen apparently noticed my recent column:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that:

1. 58% oppose a proposal to have the federal government forgive a portion of the mortgage debt owned by troubled homeowners.

Can mortgage relief become a free-lunch stimulus?

August 5, 2010

And while we are on the topic of mortgages, I wrote this piece for Reuters Breakingviews yesterday:

Obama’s August (Housing) Surprise, Part 2

August 5, 2010

The Treasury Department has officially denied it is planning the mother of all mortgage bailouts. And I have no reason to doubt Team Geithner. But of course that assumes that the whole idea was not being cooked up by the White House political team (Rahm and Ax) and not the good folks at Treasury. During the financial reform debate, banking lobbyists continually complained that Geither and Summers had been usurped by R&A in policymaking. And I have gotten zero pushback from the WH. Food for thought. More to come.

The GDP report and Okun’s Law

August 2, 2010

One of the mysteries of the Great Recession is why unemployment rose so far so fast. The usual rule of thumb, Okun’s Law, called for a much lower rate of joblessness.  The White House has been hoping that as the economy turned around, the labor market would outperform just as it underperformed during the downturn.  As it turns out, the downturn was deeper than first thought, so the “snapback” scenario is less likely. This from JPMorgan:

Obama polls continue to melt during Recovery Summer

July 29, 2010

President Barack Obama’s “recovery summer” has become a summer swoon. GDP growth has downshifted, as have his poll numbers. And with Democrats likely to suffer big losses in November’s elections, the president will have to rethink his economic agenda or face gridlock in 2011.

The state of Obama’s approval ratings

July 21, 2010

Well, they’re not good and signal great danger for Democrats in the midterm election. The good folks at RealClearPolitics sums things up nicely:

Low Obama approval ratings could mean huge Dem losses in Congress

July 7, 2010

My pal Dan Clifton, political analyst over at Strategas, sees Democrats losing 50-60 seats in the House and 5-7 in the Senate. Noting Obama’s low approval rating — 44 percent according to Gallup — he produced this chart: