By Obed Manuel
Opinion & Copy Editor
President Barack Obama looks out of a window in the Oval Office to see the sunrise. Whether he slept the night before is anyone’s guess. One thing, however, is certain: The president’s prospects for re-election are much more favorable than they were three months ago.
The Associated Press reported Feb. 22 that Obama leads both Mitt Romney, the long-standing frontrunner for the Republican nomination, and Rick Santorum, Romney’s strongest challenger. The president’s public support stands at 50 percent, according to an AP-GfK poll released Feb. 22.
The GOP should ponder whether any candidate will be able to pose a threat based on what ails the nation badly: a weak economy.
Instead, the GOP concerns itself with which potential nominee is the most conservative.
A national Gallup poll shows the state of the economy as the most important issue for 71 percent of Americans.
According to reports from the U.S. Department of Labor, applications for unemployment benefits are down and the unemployment rate has fallen for three straight months. Granted, the rate is affected by unemployed individuals who have stopped looking for employment.
The Associated Press reported that one of its polls shows national support for Obama is growing as the economy continues to show signs of improvement. In an election cycle with the economy as the deciding factor for which party will control Congress next January, Obama and Democrats in Congress will without a doubt continue riding the I-think-I-can engine that is the current U.S. economy.
Romney’s inability to convince the GOP establishment that he is their inevitable nominee adds to Obama’s growing momentum.
The fact that Santorum is now a leading contender for the GOP nomination is proof of the ever-present desire of the Republican Party to find anyone other than Romney.
It is disappointing for Romney because he is a qualified candidate who would be able to appeal to independent voters, but he still cannot solidify his post in the hearts of Republican voters.
The president will surely feel comfortable running against either because, even if it is Romney, Obama will know his opponent does not have the full backing of his own party.
Unless a catastrophe destroys the sluggish economic recovery, Obama looks as though he will be sitting more and more comfortably during his campaign. Hopefully, for the president’s (and the nation’s) sake, he will be able to rest easy for the time being.