Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Obama in Virginia

Barack Obama's approval rating in Virginia is down to 42% among likely voters for this fall's election, while 51% disapprove of him. That's a strong decline from a positive 48/46 spread a month ago. And only 14% of voters in the likely electorate say a visit from him will make them more likely to vote for Creigh Deeds, while 37% say it will make them less likely to do so.

On the surface that makes joint appearances with Obama look like a bad idea for Deeds, but it actually underscores just how important his support is. The reason his approval numbers are so bad among people planning to vote in the race for Governor is that so many people who voted for him last year aren't planning to come out. If he can help get his supporters more energized to vote for Deeds the race will get a lot closer.

There's a remarkable level of polarization in Obama's approval numbers with 92% of Democrats but only 3% of Republicans expressing support for his job performance. Independents split 54/34 against him as well.

One key number though: among undecideds Obama is quite popular, with a 56/27 approval rating.

If this poll was weighted to reflect a Presidential year electorate Obama's approval spread would be 50/44, basically the result at the polls in Virginia last year. So looking toward his own prospects for winning the state against in 2012 he's basically where he was last November.

Some other notes from this poll:

-35% of respondents said they'd be less likely to vote for Bob McDonnell if Sarah Palin campaigned for him while 26% said they'd be more likely to do so. Among undecideds the spread was 17/37.

-Tim Kaine has seen a decline in his approval rating over the last month as well, going from 49/38 to 42/40.

-One politician overcoming the Democratic blues is Mark Warner. He was at 57/31 and he's now basically unchanged at 56/32. The Warner card may ultimately end up doing more good for Deeds than the Obama card.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

"The reason his approval numbers are so bad among people planning to vote in the race for Governor is that so many people who voted for him last year aren't planning to come out."

An assumption on your part. The Republican percentage is effectively the same as it was last November.

What has changed is the Democrat/indy number. Don't you think it's possible that the indies became Democrats on NOvember4th and then just switched back to indy for whatever reason?

Look at the 2004 D/R/I crosstabs. Republicans were 35% of the vote then and the D/I number was similar to what it is with your split.

What may have happened is that Virginia has somewhat reverted back to where it was in 2004.

Tom Jensen said...

Not really an assumption, Obama won the state 52-46 but likely voters for this year supported McCain 52-41. If the universe we're polling is a 17 point swing from the Presidential universe that's going to bring down his approval ratings.

Anonymous said...


Don't you think it's possible that some voters who voted for Obama now aren't willing to admit it? How do you explain my argument about the D/R/I split? The Republican number hasn't changed. The 52% who voted for him on NOvember 4th may no longer be in his corner.

Look at the polls asking whether you voted for Kerry or Bush. There were regularly more Kerry voters than Bush voters in polls.

Obama's numbers are dropping everywhere despite the fact that most pollsters show 23% Republicans.

Tom, your guy is going down. When over 40% of the electorate in Virginia thinks you are a circus freak from another country (including a good percentage of African-Americans), that doesn't bode well for his chances.

Anonymous said...

The only reason why Mark Warner's approval hasn't changed and remains high is because he is invisible. That, however, is severely pissing off several supporters from the business community who supported him for Gov. and Sen., but feel used by him now as he won't even return their phone calls anymore.

Anonymous said...


Are you really going to play the "woe-is-Barack" game?

Conservatives are the ones defending your firm against the Kos kids.

I apologize if you thought the statement was out of line. However, the statement may be an accurate representation of what over 40% of Virginians think about Obama.

Brandon said...

"The reason his approval numbers are so bad among people planning to vote in the race for Governor is that so many people who voted for him last year aren't planning to come out."

It's simply amazing to hear a renowned pollster spin-spin-spin away the reason his fave President is tanking in the polls. Do every president's supporters make excuses like this when their guy is looking down in the polls? It just seems like a very interesting new line of attack/denial. I'll reiterate what Anonymous said...why is it so hard to believe that some of the current "Indys" were calling themselves "Democrats" on November 4th, because they, like many, were caught up in the "wonder of Obama." His polling numbers, to me, and just my general sense on the ground, reflect the obvious truth: his "wonder" is fading.

Brandon said...

Also, your poll numbers show that Palin would be less harmful for McDonnell than Obama would be for Deeds......based on those numbers, would you feel comfortable saying Palin is probably more popular right now in Virginia than Obama is?

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