Obama isn’t charismatic anymore?

A professor named Allan Lichtman has a model for predicting elections that indicates Obama will win re-election. According to that article, his model has been right about every election since 1984.

I agree with most of what his model says, but I take issue with his assessment of point #12 of his model “Incumbent charisma”. He says:

“‘I did not give President Obama the incumbent charisma key. I counted it against him. He’s really led from behind. He didn’t really take the lead in the healthcare debate, he didn’t use his speaking ability to move the American people during the recession. He’s lost his ability to connect since the 2008 election.'”

I disagree with the idea that Obama didn’t “take the lead”. He did give speeches on all of those issues, after all. He’s not the King, as both Liberals and Conservatives sometimes seem to think; he still has to deal with Congress. These are vague complaints, which I think reflect wishful thinking on Prof. Lichtman’s part.

Also, Obama after 2008 was dangerously close to becoming overexposed. If he’d kept showing up everywhere to talk about issues, people would be sick of him. Obama has wisely conserved his charismatic abilities so as to be able to use them for his campaign.

Bottom line, though, I agree with this appraisal. The one other caveat, as I see it, is on point #13 “Challenger charisma”. Palin has some charisma, so if she decided to run it would change things, but it’s hard to know what she’s doing. And I still think Obama would win.

(Hat Tip to Megan McArdle)

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