PS: Political Science & Politics


Incumbency, National Conditions, and the 2008 Presidential Election

Thomas M. Holbrooka1

a1 University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

At the time of this writing (early August, 2008), the political landscape would appear to bode well for Barack Obama and spell almost certain disaster for John McCain. With presidential approval hovering in the high-20 and low-30% range for more than a year, and levels of economic satisfaction bottoming out, it “should” be a terrible year for the Republican Party in general and the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, in particular, at least if the retrospective model holds. One factor that could mitigate the impact of negative retrospections, however, is that George W. Bush himself is not on the ballot to absorb the full impact of the national angst; in fact, for the first time since 1952, neither the president nor vice president is on the ballot.