Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Obama looking solid in Virginia

Barack Obama was the first Democratic Presidential candidate to win Virginia in a generation in 2008 and a new PPP survey finds that with the most mentioned possible 2012 GOP hopefuls viewed dimly in the state he'd probably do it again if he had to stand for election today.

Obama leads Mitt Romney (48-43) and Mike Huckabee (49-44) each by 5 points in hypothetical contests, a margin similar to his victory over John McCain in the state. If the Republican nominee was either Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin Obama's lead widens to 11 points, by spreads of 52-41 and 51-40 respectively.

Obama has pretty good approval numbers in the state with 50% of voters giving him good marks to 45% who disapprove. His numbers certainly compare well to the favorability numbers of the top GOP contenders. Only Huckabee, at 40/40, can even break even on that front. The rest of the crowd has pretty negative numbers with Mitt Romney at -13 (33/46), Newt Gingrich at -21 (32/53), and Sarah Palin at -23 (35/58).

These strong numbers for Obama may seem surprising after 2 good Republican years in Virginia but they're a reminder that a huge part of that GOP success was Democratic voters staying home. The 2009 Virginia exit poll showed those who voted had supported John McCain by 8 points in 2008, a huge contrast to Obama's actual 6 point victory in the state. That 14 point enthusiasm gap is twice what was seen at the national level in this year's election where there was only a 7 point gap between who showed up this year and the popular vote in 2008. So Democratic performance in Virginia, more so than most places, has a lot of room to improve in 2012 just by people showing back up.

Going inside the numbers Obama pretty much breaks even with independents against Romney and Huckabee and then leads Gingrich by 8 points and Palin by 17 with them. He also benefits from getting more than 90% of the Democratic vote against all 4 of the Republicans, while they each get just 79-85% of the GOP vote.

It's obviously way early but these numbers make it clear Republicans in Virginia can't put up just anyone and expect to start winning the state again at the Presidential level.

Full results here

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

PPP,

It would be interesting to put these results more into context by having an Obama v. Generic Republican to gauge the results of the Republican candidates versus some standard. Also, is there a possibility you could humor us and include Ron Paul in one of these? My theory is he would not be far off of the numbers Palin or Gingrich has in a head-to-head with Obama and Paul would have a significant advantage with independents.

As pollsters, you have tremendous influence over political discourse and it would be a shame to continually give coverage to the same four primary candidates without throwing a wild card in the head-to-head with Obama.

Anonymous said...

Are you going to poll 2 states now every weekend or will you poll only randomly ?

(I'd prefer 2 states each weekend of course, so we could see an early map for Obama's re-election chances.)

DBL said...

I'm not sure how much stock we can put into the idea Obama is "winning" Virginia. The biggest question is who will show up.

The good news for Obama is that he's retaining at least 86% of his 2008 voters. So they aren't abandoning him. He's also not getting beat with independents, which is a triumph considering how heavily independents went for Republicans two weeks ago.

On the other hand, Obama is getting clobbered with new voters. Some of these are probably Republicans who stayed home in 2008. How many of them are 18-20 year old new voters?

The big question is whether the electorate will be D+1? It was D+6 in 2008, but R+3 and +4 in 2006 and 2009.

Interestingly, Palin does best against him with 18-29 and worst against him with everyone else.

Anonymous said...

I don't get the logic behind independents breaking for a candidate which occupies the space far to the right of Gingrich and Palin on the economy.

I do agree with the inclusion of the Generic R as a baseline.

Anonymous said...

The logic behind independents breaking for a candidate such as Paul would be his views on Afghanistan and a general anti-war stance overall. For voters who holds that salient issue, he would be an attractive alternative to Obama. An argument could also be made for some of his positions on social issues such as legalization of marijuana and gay rights.

Let it be clear that there are more than just the four frontrunners and I would personally like to track the development of Paul, Pawlenty, and Santorum in the upcoming months. However, as we speak, I consider Paul to be ahead of those two.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"On the other hand, Obama is getting clobbered with new voters."

What do you base that on?

AG said...

If Obama really is projected to do this well in 2012, would he have coattails? Could the Democrats take back a House seat or two that they lost in '10? Does this demonstrate how awful of an idea running away from Obama was for Creigh Deeds? Could the Democrats be in trouble if Deeds tries to run for Senate in the event Jim Webb doesn't run for re-election?

Anonymous said...

Want to know what Virginia really thinks ... conduct a poll of Barack Obama v George Allen (who looks to be planning to be on Virginia's 2012 ballot)

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Does this demonstrate how awful of an idea running away from Obama was for Creigh Deeds?"

Not necessarily. 2009 was a more Republican electorate. A lot of the reason Obama is doing better now is that it's D+1, not R+ a few.

"Could the Democrats be in trouble if Deeds tries to run for Senate in the event Jim Webb doesn't run for re-election?"

We didn't think about polling him, but my guess is he wouldn't be very strong. We'll have Senate numbers out tomorrow.

Brandon K said...

I agree with the notion of asking about Obama vs. Generic R before the specific candidates.

Anonymous said...

While I agree it is way too early to see trend lines and a good test would be a generic R v Obama, I have difficulty buying the results of this poll.

I don't see the 2012 electoral makeup of VA being 55% female and even then a lot will be conservative white women who I suspect would be more crtical of Obama after 4 yrs in office. Of course, all Obama has to do to win in VA is (1) carry 90-95% of the black vote; (2) carry 80%+ of the college vote (Charlotesville, W&M, V-Tech and Hampton U); and (3) win 60-65% of the vote in NoVA. But his victory in 2008 was in part because of the drop off in GOP voters who, after 2010, I can't see staying home like they did in 2008.

Of course, the real test is and will always be the economy and unless it is markedly different from now, he won't win and if it significantly improves he'll win in a romp.

As per places to poll in the coming months, pls consider polling AZ and MT on the presidential level. Something tells me MT might be in play more so than AZ, but who knows. thanks

Anonymous said...

deeds was not a very forceful candidate for va. i would think mcauliffe would have ran a better race against mcdonnell. is there a hint that webb is not going to run again for senate?

Anonymous said...

I think the bigger question here is that Obama is getting such a high percentage of the Democratic vote. I don't see Obama scoring 95% of the Democratic vote in a state like Virginia, where there are still plenty of holdover Conservative Democrats.

Even Deeds only got about 90% of the Democrat vote, and he was a much better political fit for rural, Conservative Virginia than Obama is.

Anonymous said...

"But his victory in 2008 was in part because of the drop off in GOP voters who, after 2010, I can't see staying home like they did in 2008. "

the part you're missing is that many Republicans here in VA actually voted for Obama, or rather against McCain/Palin. we didn't just stay at home...

Dustin Ingalls said...

"I think the bigger question here is that Obama is getting such a high percentage of the Democratic vote."

In our final 2008 poll, which had him winning 52-46, essentially identical to his actual 53-46 win, he was getting 89% of the Dem vote to McCain's 9%. So this is pretty consistent. I don't think any of the Republicans, even a moderate like Romney, yet has the respect across the aisle that McCain had engendered.

NRH said...

As a modest guess, I'm going to say that turnout in 2012 will resemble 2008 more than 2010, but will be between the two. Going out on a limb there, I know. Ultimately, though, I think a lot of the youth and minority vote will show up for Obama again when they sat out this year - particularly after Republicans in the House spend two years viciously attacking Obama far beyond the bounds of rationality and civility, playing to their base. Then the teahadist hordes will show up again in 2014, furious at having seen the election 'stolen' by voters they don't consider 'real Americans.'

Marvin said...

If you consider that with four more years there should be four more years worth of young voters (and young people are turning very very hard against the Republican Party - the "Tea Party" movement is almost entirely old people) ... and four more years of old voters... well not being around to vote anymore - it seems like the electorate could be even more favorable to Obama in 2012 than it was in 2008. Of course these are small shifts in the big scheme of things... but could be worth a point.

Marvin said...

"Even Deeds only got about 90% of the Democrat vote, and he was a much better political fit for rural, Conservative Virginia than Obama is."

How did that work out? There are only so many redneck Democrats.

It doesn't work trying to appeal to them, because that turns off the Democratic base.

There are a lot more Democrats, it's just a matter of exciting them enough to actually vote.

Marvin said...

I'd also like to add that I think "generic Republican" is not worth polling. There's no such thing as a "generic Republican."

The real Republican candidates are awful with huge negatives, one of these losers will be the person Obama faces in 2012. They should be the losers included in the polling.

 
Web Statistics