It's a given that there's a strong relationship between how people feel about President Obama and how they're planning to vote this fall but it's a little remarkable just how strong that correlation is on our last national poll. Voters who approve of the job Obama's doing are planning to vote Democratic by an 82-7 margin. Voters who disapprove of the job he's doing are planning to vote Republican 82-4.
When people's voting preferences are that tied up in how they feel about Obama it's a reminder that 90% of the stuff campaigns do is pretty irrelevant because their fates are tied up in stuff beyond their control. Of course that other 10% can definitely make the difference in a very close campaign.
And not all Republicans are winning the Obama disapprovers by an 82-4 margin, a reminder that the party has weakened itself with some of its choices on who to nominate. For instance our last Kentucky poll found Rand Paul ahead only 67-16 with folks who don't like the President. Ken Buck's only up 78-10 with them. The Tea Party candidates are also helping to generate levels of Democratic unity that run above the national averages. Harry Reid leads Sharron Angle 94-3 with voters who like Obama. And Michael Bennet leads Buck 87-4.
There's been an increasing volume of stuff written lately saying the Republicans nominating Tea Party candidates is not a big deal. It's true that the GOP may still end up winning all of these races. But the reality is that a year ago Harry Reid was dead in the water and Charlie Crist was a slam dunk as a new Republican Senator and that Michael Bennet has a 32/48 approval rating and that Barack Obama stands at 37/58 in Kentucky. None of these races had to be competitive but the choices the GOP has made have afforded them that status.