Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gallup released an interesting report a couple of months ago on Obama's approval rankings for the first half of the year by state. Given the HUGE sample size and the well deserved reputation of Gallup, it understandably got quite a bit of interest, along a decent number of spin attempts (TPM is a good example). If you look at it with just a bit more intelligence than they showed, however, you can see why I am so confident that Obama doesn't have a prayer.

First of all, this is a poll of adults. Registered (and likely) voters have historically leaned more Republican than samples of adults. Is this because Republicans are more likely to vote, or is it because polls of adults are always biased towards Democrats? The question is essentially unanswerable, we can simply note the effects.

This effect should be magnified in the elections of 2012 as Republicans have consistently been shown as being far more enthusiastic about voting in the upcoming elections than usual, while Democrats have been just as consistently shown as being unenthusiastic. Speaking of Gallup, they recently referred to Democrats as "dispirited" with regards to 2012.

Secondly, Obama started out 2011 higher than he finished it, so his average approval rating for the entire time period was at 47%. Keep in mind that this is historically a weak number warning of an incumbent in danger. However, when the analysis was released, Obama's approval rating was at a miserable 42%, with nearly 50% disapproving. Obama's approval has since fallen as low as 38% and is today at 41% with 51% disapproval.

So Obama today has about a 6% lower approval than he did in the Gallup state-by-state report released in August. While individual states will have changed by different amounts, this is highly likely to show even more weakness in the battleground states:

  • Ohio - Showed approval of 45%. Obama is at 40% at best.
  • Virginia and N Carolina - Showed approval of 46%. Also somewhere around 40% now.
  • Florida - Showed approval of 47%. I believe that if anything Florida has turned against Obama even more decisively than the rest of the nation, and Obama is now in the high 30's.
  • Nevada and Colorado - Showed approval of 44%, below the national average. Obama has to be under 40% in these states now.
  • Pennsylvania - 48%. Obama's in the low 40's at best right now.
  • OREGON was at 44%, there isn't any reason for him to be doing any better there either.
  • New Hampshire was already a lost cause at 40%, Obama would be lucky to still be as high as the mid 30's.

How is Obama going to win any of the states listed here? Note that these are all (with the exception of Oregon, which is listed as 'lean Obama') in the 'toss up' category. Including Oregon, they amount to 121 electoral votes, 114 without. This doesn't even factor Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin etc. which are less of a slam dunk, but more likely than not to go Republican IMHO.

Further support to this is a recent poll showing 4 groups of 3 'swing' states. 3 of these groups, representing 9 states have Obama at 41% or lower approval and disapproval over 50%. The 9 states are: Florida, Virginia, N Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico.