Friday, September 24, 2010

The Dems' Bad Midwest

There's little doubt that the Midwest is the Democrats' toughest region this year. If the election was today the party would almost certainly lose the Governorships it holds in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. It's also more than likely at this point to lose the Senate seats it has in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Indiana, miss out on a once promising pick up opportunity in Ohio, and quite possibly lose their seat in Illinois as well. And there are too many House seats the party could lose in the region to count.

The question then is: what's going on in the Midwest? Here are four of the main reasons:

-Unpopular Democratic Governors.

Our last Ohio poll found Ted Strickland with a 34% approval rating and 52% of voters disapproving of him. That makes him the most popular Democratic Governor in the region:

State

Governor

Approval

Ted Strickland

Ohio

34/52

Jim Doyle

Wisconsin

29/62

Jennifer Granholm

Michigan

29/63

Chet Culver

Iowa

28/56

Ed Rendell

Pennsylvania

27/63

Pat Quinn

Illinois

23/53


When voters think the Democrats they have now are doing such a bad job they're not particularly inclined to keep the ones running for reelection or to replace the retiring ones with other Democrats.

-An Unusual Souring on Obama

Nationally we find 88% of the people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 are still happy with the job he's doing. But significantly larger portions of his voters have become disenchanted throughout the Midwest:

State

% of Obama voters still approving

Illinois

87

Ohio

82

Iowa

82

Michigan

79

Pennsylvania

78

Wisconsin

78


Obviously the more unhappy Obama's voters are the more likely they are to support Republicans this year and that's a trend we're seeing throughout the region.

-The Biggest Enthusiasm Gaps

Democrats are having problems turning out their base everywhere but perhaps because voters in the region are down on Obama and their Democratic Governors that's turning out to be a particularly dramatic problem in the Midwest:

State

2010 Electorate

2008 Vote

Gap

Illinois

Obama +9

Obama +25

16 pts

Michigan

Obama +1

Obama +16

15 pts

Wisconsin

Even

Obama +14

14 pts

Pennsylvania

McCain +1

Obama +10

11 pts

Iowa

Even

Obama +10

10 pts

Ohio

McCain +3

Obama +4

7 pts


Obama won these states by double digits but the 2010 electorate would make all of them except Illinois into toss ups...and there's a lot more Obama voters choosing Republicans this time than the other way around. There is perilously low interest in the midterm election among Midwestern Democrats.

A Collapse with Independents

Independents are leaning toward the GOP everywhere but the trend is particularly dramatic in the Midwest:

Race

Republican Lead w/Independents

Michigan Governor

40

Pennsylvania Governor

32

Iowa Senate

30

Pennsylvania Senate

27

Illinois Governor

25

Illinois Senate

16

Iowa Governor

16

Ohio Senate

13

Wisconsin Governor

12

Ohio Governor

11

Wisconsin Senate

11


There are more Democrats than Republicans in most of these states but not enough to make up for these kinds of gaps with independents.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Change is coming to America.

Philip said...

Where will you be polling next week? Do you plan on doing New York anytime soon, given Paladino's and Dioguardi's surge in other polls?

Anonymous said...

I notice you didn't include Minnesota in this analysis -- historically the most Democratic state of all in the Midwest (even more than Illinois). If you had, I suspect you'd find less drop-off in Obama's support and less of a "gap" between the 2008 Democrat vote and today's electorate.

But even there, the open-seat gubernatorial race is now essentially tied between the two parties, which is a really startling result when you consider how philosophically conservative the Republican nomineee is.

Anonymous said...

Obama didn't do very well against Hillary Clinton in most of those states during the 2008 Democratic primaries, so his support may have been softer there.

Dustin Ingalls said...

IL and NC results next week. No current plans for NY.

Anonymous said...

So excited - I got called today to participate in the PPP NC poll!! For a political junkie like me, this has been a fabulous year. I've lost count of the times pollsters have called me, for both state and national races.

I bet it would throw something off in your analysis, but would it be possible for you to include a "prefer not to respond" response for the "what is your race" question? Can't we just get past this fascination/obsession with race?!

Dustin Ingalls said...

"I notice you didn't include Minnesota in this analysis"

Yeah, we haven't polled there statewide since July of last year.

Anonymous said...

poll arizona please!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This post has got me wondering; would you ever consider doing multiple-state polls? As in polling Obama's collective approval rating in the Midwest or Pacific Coast or something like that?

Christian Liberty said...

Obama's Policies Drag Down Democratic Governors

http://townhall.com/columnists/MichaelBarone/2010/09/23/obamas_policies_drag_down_democratic_governors/page/full/

Obama's radical policies have caused a predictable and honorable backlash. The heartland increasingly opposes Democrats. The midwest is becoming as conservative as the south and the plains. Democrats will increasingly be ostracized to the far coasts, like the radical extremists they truly are.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"I bet it would throw something off in your analysis, but would it be possible for you to include a "prefer not to respond" response for the "what is your race" question? Can't we just get past this fascination/obsession with race?!"

The demographic questions are included more for weighting purposes than for crosstabbing. Response rates from white people, for example, is much higher than from minorities, so we have to weight to account for that, because whites aren't going to be as prevalent in the actual electorate as they are in our raw data.

DBL said...

Race is essential for a pollster. There is no economic, social, or racial group that can be counted on to vote for one party more than African-Americans. If you weight a poll based on income, age, gender, and party ID without race you could get more Democrats who'll vote Republican than you would otherwise.

Philip said...

I thought you claimed that you didn't weight your data?

Dustin Ingalls said...

"I thought you claimed that you didn't weight your data?"

Don't know how you got that impression. We don't weight for party, ideology, or '08 vote, but we do for gender, race, and age.

 
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