When Obama was elected, I prided myself on being less impressionable than a lot of my liberal friends. Be prepared, I warned them, for Democratic electoral fortunes, and liberal ideological fortunes, to regress toward the mean. I figured that this probably didn’t stop being the 50/50 country it had been since 1990 just because the Democrats had a couple of impressive electoral wins under their belt.“[B]y a 50-42 margin [Ohio] voters there say they'd rather have George W. Bush in the White House right now than Barack Obama.
"Independents hold that view by a 44-37 margin and there are more Democrats who would take Bush back (11%) than there are Republicans who think Obama's preferable (3%.)
“A couple months ago I thought the Pennsylvanias and Missouris and Ohios of the world were the biggest battlegrounds for 2010 but when you see numbers like this it makes you think it's probably actually the Californias and the Wisconsins and the Washingtons.”
I’m trying to muster up that equanimity now. But I can’t say that I ever imagined, in my wildest flights of pessimism, that Obama could become markedly less popular than Bush in a swing state less than two years into his presidency. Maybe that’s just a sign that these are volatile times in which we should expect variation around the political mean to be wider than normal. But I can’t ignore the possibility that the political/ideological mean has moved, or that I’d been misplacing it all along.