Presidential politics, like most other major endeavors, has its intangibles. There are some significant developments that cannot be explained simply by resort to the standard “explanations” of partisanship and ideology.
There are moments when voters make decisions based not on party labels or the dictates of talk-radio personalities but on a more complex and more personal measure of which candidate they think is better suited to the presidency.
In other words, a good many voters—more than most pols and pundits care to admit—can be influenced by an unexpected, often unintended, signal that a particular contender is on top of things.
This would appear to explain why President Obama’s poll numbers have spiked since the US Supreme Court rejected the right-wing fantasy that the Affordable Care Act was “unconstitutional.” The healthcare reform law was never at odds with the founding document or its amendments, so conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and the majority that concurred with him merely confirming what was already obvious to all but the most ardent of reactionaries.
Needless to say, that confirmation was insufficient or the dead-enders who will oppose anything that this president and the congressional Democrats who align with him choose to do.
But for a significant portion of the electorate, perhaps even a definitional portion, the high court’s stamp of approval appears to have given Obama a significant boost.
One does not need to approve or disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, itself, nor to approve or disaprove of Obama, himself, to recognize that the president has had a very good few days since Roberts placed his stamp of approval on the president’s signature legislation.
It has been a long time since this president has had this much good news—with headlines in publications such as the Capitol Hill–insider paper The Hill declaring “Obama Gets Polling Bump From High Court Ruling” and “Obama Holds Edge on Healthcare Policy After Court Ruling.” Newsday noted “Supreme Court Ruling Ups Support for Obama,” while a Yahoo! News survey of surveys declared: “Polls Show Obama Gets Boost from Supreme Court Ruling.