CARBONDALE — Although widely watched, the Supreme Court’s decision on President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan won’t have much of an effect on the November elections, one well-known political analyst said Monday.
Charlie Cook, founder of The Cook Political Report and a political analyst for NBC News, was at SIU on Monday, discussing outlooks for this year’s general election. And amid talk of the Republican presidential nomination and the 12th Congressional District race, Cook also discussed the impact this week’s Supreme Court hearings could have on Obama’s re-election chances.
“The typical piece you’re going to read this week will say this is enormously important. That’s not where I am,” Cook said. “At least in the court of public opinion, I think health care reform has already been litigated. I think everybody who’s going to make up their mind, one way or another, already has.”
Cook, whose weekly nonpartisan report deals with election trends and analysis, also writes two columns per week for National Journal. He spoke to SIU classes and offered a free lecture Monday at the school.
When it comes to forecasting the presidential race, Cook said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a virtual lock to win the Republican nomination. He also believes the presidential election is likely to be more a referendum on Obama’s presidency than the quality or vision of a Republican candidate.
And while he believes a race between Obama and Romney would be close, he doesn’t think this week’s hearings will make much of a difference as to who is elected president.
“If I could know four things before predicting who’s going to win the election, how the Supreme Court case goes would not be one of the four,” he said.
Instead, some of the topics Cook said to keep an eye on are: Where gas prices top out and how long they stay high; what the unemployment rate is like leading up to the election; any changes in the gross domestic product; and any changes in real disposable income — how much money people take home after taxes and inflation.