The Not-So-Swinging Obama

Since 1960, no one has won the White House without carrying two of these three states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Combined they account for 68 Electoral College votes (ECVs), or a quarter of the ECVs required to win the White House.

Today, Public Policy Polling has a poll out looking at the approval ratings of the President in these three critical swing states.

-In Florida Obama's approval is 39% with 55% of voters disapproving of him. 88% of Republicans disapprove while just 73% of Democrats approve and independents go against him by a 52/36 margin. Only 78% of people who voted for him in 2008 like the job he's doing while 93% who voted against him disapprove.

-In Pennsylvania Obama's approval is 40% with 55% of voters disapproving of him. 85% of Republicans disapprove while just 68% of Democrats approve and independents go against him by a 63/32 margin. Only 78% of people who voted for him in 2008 like the job he's doing while 93% who voted against him disapprove, identical numbers to Florida on that count.

-In Ohio Obama's approval is 42% with 54% of voters disapproving of him. 94% of Republicans disapprove while only 79% of Democrats approve and independents go against him by a 58/33 margin. Only 76% of people who voted for him in 2008 approve while 91% who voted against him disapprove.

The numbers are brutal and the takeaways are clear. Those who disliked Obama in 2008 really disliked him now. Among Democrats, approval of the President is increasingly tepid with only four in five Democrats in Florida and Pennsylvania approving of the President's performance. In Ohio, just three of four Democrats expressing approval. The number should be closer to nine in ten.

It is among independents, however, where the data is most worrisome.  In Pennsylvania, independents disapprove of the President's performance by a 2-to1 margin. In Florida, where approval for Obama remains strongest, independents still break by 16 points against the President. In Ohio, the break is 25 points.

However, there's another aspect here that merits pointing out. With the President still earning approval from at least three in four Democrats, there really isn't much of an opening for anyone to mount a primary challenge. Come 2012, we'll sink or swim with Obama.

Tags: Obama Administration, Polling Data (all tags)



But that's the nature of our system

"...there really isn't much of an opening for anyone to mount a primary challenge. Come 2012, we'll sink or swim with Obama."

I don't think there has ever been a successful primary replacement of a sitting president that resulted in a victory for the challenger in the general. 

My thinking is the Republicans take the Congress in 2010 and spend the next two years trying to destroy Obama and he gets the Clinton sympathy effect and squeaks by in 2012.


by Stoic 2010-08-26 10:09PM | 0 recs
RE: But that's the nature of our system

The last incumbent President to seek the nomination of his party and not win it was Chester Arthur in 1884.

In the modern era, every sitting President who has sought the nomination was been nominated. The one asterisk is LBJ who dropped out of the race on March 31, 1968 after Senator Eugene McCarthy took 41 percent of the vote in the NH primary prompting RFK to launch his bid.

by Charles Lemos 2010-08-26 11:46PM | 0 recs
Clinton didn't win on sympathy.

He won because the economy had recovered and he had a pretty weak opponent for whom he ran a formidable campaign against.

I don't think Obama will squeak by on sympathy.  I do think a Republican Congress actually helps Obama because I don't think voters are really turned on to Republican ideas at this point.  I think they just want to fire the in Party.  Ultimately, I don't think they will want to put the entire federal government in the hands of the Republicans.

by bookgrl 2010-08-26 10:17PM | 0 recs
bad numbers...

but these are 2010 voters.   This indicates a large enthusiam gap and why Dems aren't going to turn out in any kind of numbers on November 2.  The economy stinks in all three states.  And a lot of older voters (including Dems) have completely soured on Obama.  That's why PA is so bad right now.  I see the GOP picking up 9-11 House seats in just those three states.

Obama may get by in 2012 because voters really like divided government, and the GOP field is undistinguished right now.  He needs to junk the catfood commission, stand tall on not extending the Bush tax cuts, and really draw down troops in Afghanistan.

The other possibility, and a rather likely one, is the GOP overplays their hand with too many investigations and repealing stuff.  Swing voters won't want to hand all the keys to the GOP.


by esconded 2010-08-26 10:34PM | 0 recs
If voters like divided government, why didnt McCain win in 2008?

That is my question.

by Kent 2010-08-26 11:05PM | 0 recs
RE: If voters like divided government, why didnt McCain win in 2008?

If some voters like divided government perhaps they don't care about a $10/hr minimum wage, EFCA, a fixed prescription drug benefit, and a strong public option.

Those divided government voters look to me a bunch of conservatives.


by WWW.DEMOCRATZ.ORG 2010-08-27 09:13PM | 1 recs
Obama needs new advisers

The problem with his advisers is that they believe that independents embrace someone who is bipartisan, someone who governs from the center. Thus, Obama has steadfastly refused to take a principled stand on contentious issues, refused to take on the Republicans head on and instead has triangulated every issue to oblivion. You have the independents, a big chunk of whom are Republicans who were embarrassed to identify with that party after Bush, leaving him in droves, while the real Independents are being turned off by his triangulation. Among the Democrats, the continuous penchant of this administration is to kick the base to the curb (professional left anyone?), while at the same time demanding money and time. Well not this time. Clinton might not have always done everything the way the base demanded, but at least he had a good outreach program and took pains not to alienate the base. As for this administration, their outreach is Jonathan Alter, a sycophant columnist in a magazine that no one reads.

by tarheel74 2010-08-26 10:43PM | 3 recs
RE: Obama needs new advisers

Yea, paralysis. They poll the yang out of things there on a nightly basis, more than Bush or Clinton combined. Amazing how consistently wrong-footed they are, but lets lay the blame where it belongs, Obama, like Bush, likes to delegate, and mistakes that bureaucratic task for being a leader.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-08-27 12:01AM | 0 recs
RE: Obama needs new advisers

"but at least he had a good outreach program and took pains not to alienate the base"

uh-huh. I guess '93 never happened. 

by vecky 2010-08-27 01:24AM | 0 recs
Ohio is probably lower

Those are June numbers for Ohio, Tom states in the comments, not his latest. I would expect that Ohio is the lowest of the three, given the sinking torpedo that's happened over the past two months with Obama's presidency. Probabyy 5-7 points lower.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-08-26 11:55PM | 0 recs
RE: Ohio is probably lower

PPP should have new numbers on Ohio next week--guessing about 37%.  But what should be really concering Obama and the Dems is Pennsylvania.  It's a swing state, but it should be much more blue than purple, but it's turning red.

by esconded 2010-08-27 08:03AM | 0 recs
RE: Ohio is probably lower

Yup. I think you're right. PA is really worrisome. 

OH is likely to lose 2 House seats so come 2012, it will be 18 ECVs but I think PA will still be 21. Just look at the independents in PA. That's the story.

by Charles Lemos 2010-08-27 02:52PM | 0 recs
It's a base election--why can't they see that?

tarheel74 is exactly right.  Why is Obama (and team) unable to grasp this?  The enthusiasm gap is going to kill Democrats and the triangulation strategy won't work in a down economy.  Will someone please explain what their strategy is at this point?

by Thaddeus 2010-08-27 12:43AM | 0 recs
RE: It's a base election--why can't they see that?

Maybe Obama WANTS to lose the house... all his actions lately suggest that he's either given up or willingly throwing the midterm elections.  I'm sure he thinks he somehow won't be impeached, but we know that is guaranteed if the GOP wins the house.

It certainly doesn't seem like the white house is trying... their hamfisted response to the ground zero "mosque" is telling...  throws a bomb out there without any support or backup and leaves fellow dems hanging in the wind.

House Democrats are mad that he's doing an oval office speech on Iraq, when he should be doing one on the economy.  Crazy stuff...

by LordMike 2010-08-27 02:31AM | 0 recs
RE: It's a base election--why can't they see that?

Darrell Issa hasn't threatened impeachment but he has promised to hold hearings on all sorts of inane stuff.

For me personally, the worst is the setback to climate legislation.

by Charles Lemos 2010-08-27 02:53AM | 0 recs
Payback time in 2012

Im sure many Democrats now will just laugh at him if he wants more stimulus money.  They wont want to help him for 2012.  Former Governor Jon Corzine was already overheard at a cocktail party saying he wishes Hillary won. 

by Kent 2010-08-27 10:09AM | 0 recs
RE: Payback time in 2012

Hillary? The wife of the man who threw the welfare recipients under the bus in 1996. I refused to vote for Hillary as she appeared too conservative fiscally.


There appears a name for those conservative fiscally but socially liberal. LIBERTARIAN. Let every one of those type of socially liberal but fiscally conservative Democrats move to the LIBERTARIAN Party.


Help me change America


by WWW.DEMOCRATZ.ORG 2010-08-27 09:07PM | 0 recs
I'm writing in Senator Tom Harkin in 2012

In 2012 I will write in the name of Senator Tom Harkin for President.


President Obama gave the drug companies and the health insurance companies a windfall in this new health care law. He screwed the Medicare beneficiaries by not removing Medicare Part D where he could have then put the prescription drug benefit in Medicare Part B covering all medications patented and generic 80 percent with no means test, no coverage gap and no administration of this benefit by private companies and the Medicare Part B premium of almost 100 dollars a month would cover the doctors visits and the new prescription drug benefit, so that retired and disabled people would not have to pay 2 hefty sets of monthly premiums and 2 hefty yearly deductibles to get one drug benefit.

He screwed the regular public by not setting up a single payer public option that would not ban private insurance companies but would cover everything with general taxes for people under 65. Those on Medicare could eventually shift into his new single payer public option by choice.

He has screwed the unions by not getting EFCA and card check enacted into law.

He has screwed working people by not initiating a $10/hr minimum wage.


We elected FDR and he turned into Herbert Hoover.


Help me change America.

by WWW.DEMOCRATZ.ORG 2010-08-27 09:03PM | 0 recs
It's the economy

Krugman isn't too optomistic today:

Failure To Rise

I’m finding it hard to read about politics these days. I still don’t think people in the administration understand the magnitude of the catastrophe their excessive caution has created. I keep waiting for Obama to do something, something, to shake things up; but it never seems to happen.

Here’s what I wrote in February 2009. It’s pretty rich that now the usual suspects are accusing me of having shared the administration’s optimism. But that’s a trivial point; the important thing is that all signs are that the next few years will be a combination of economic stagnation and political witch-hunt.

This is going to be almost inconceivably ugly.

by jeopardy 2010-08-28 06:22PM | 0 recs


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