Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Obama's Reelect

On our final round of 18 polls conducted before last week's election we asked folks in every state included whether they would prefer Barack Obama or a generic Republican in 2012, and we asked folks who identified themselves as regular Republican primary voters who they would like to see as their party's 2012 nominee. We're going to be rolling those results out in groups of 6 starting today with Colorado, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.

2010 voters in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania all say they'd prefer a generic Republican to Obama in 2012. In Colorado it's a close 45/50 spread, in New Hampshire it's 40/54, and in Pennsylvania it's 42/52. Those troublesome numbers for the President speak to two things. First, he obviously needs to get his supporters who dropped off in 2010 back to the polls in 2012...in all three of these states the electorate this year was a good deal more Republican than in 2008. Second and perhaps more worrisome for Obama though it speaks to the reality that he has picked up virtually no support since taking office, while he has lost a decent amount of it.

In Pennsylvania 11% of 2008 Obama voters say they're inclined to vote Republican next time while only 2% who voted for McCain say they would now vote for Obama. Similarly in New Hampshire 11% of Obama voters are leaning toward supporting a GOP candidate next time to just 4% of McCain voters he's converted to his side. And in Colorado it's 12% who supported Obama the first time around who are now looking more toward the Republicans and only 5% of McCain voters who say Obama's won them over.

Based on last week's results the state out of this group that might be most worrisome for Obama is New Hampshire, where his numbers have fallen precipitously and the Republican Senate candidate won by greater than 20 points. Even though Obama's numbers in Colorado don't look good voters there sent a strong message looking toward 2012 that they're willing to vote for a Democrat they're not enamored with if the Republican alternative goes too far to the right. It seems safe to say Sarah Palin would not defeat Obama in Colorado. Pennsylvania falls in between New Hampshire and Colorado in how big of a concern it should be for Obama moving forward...it did end up going Republican but by a relatively tight margin given how bad this political climate is for Democrats.

In the traditionally blue states of California, Connecticut, and Illinois voters said they preferred Obama to a generic Republican by margins of 51/44, 50/42, and 49/45 respectively. If he's above water in those states with the 2010 electorate at a low time for his Presidency he shouldn't be at much risk of losing them in 2012. Things would have to get much worse for him than they already are (and they're pretty bad) for him to even up with Jimmy Carter reelection kinds of electoral votes.

Full results here


NRH said...

Instead of 'generic Republican,' how about swapping the order of those questions? Ask first for preferences among the current Republican candidates, then ask if a respondent would prefer Obama or any one of them. It still lets respondents pick their favorite Republican, but doesn't let them project onto a mythical generic figure. As your own polls have showed repeatedly, Obama posts far better numbers against any of his actual named potential opponents (with their own specific positions on issues, personal baggage, etc) than against 'generic Republican' who everyone can interpret as 'your ideal candidate.'

Alternatively, if you're going to be returning to states relatively frequently, you could make it a recurring cycle. Whoever was the front-runner in a given state the first time through, you test them against Obama the second time through, and take a fresh primary poll. That would get you 'Obama vs most popular Republican' in each state without aggregating all the Republicans together.

Jim0701 said...

I would expect a "generic repubican" to poll better than an actual Republican though. Generic candidate X typically represents the ideal candidate in the voters mind.

Generic Republican would have beaten Harry Reid this year, but Generic Republican wasn't on the ballot Sharron Angle was.

Dustin Ingalls said...

We did generic re-elect because these were one of usually 20-30 questions on our final 2010 polls, and we can't make them too long. Don't worry--we've got two years left. There's plenty of time to continue polling specific matchups. This is just an early look.

Anonymous said...

A major issue with these numbers is that these are from *2010 likely voters.* And the universe of 2010 likely voters contains far more Republicans and far less Democrats than 2008, and likely 2012. So I suggest a better way to gauge the results would be to weigh the numbers to Obama/McCain 2008 results.

Ex: "In Pennsylvania 11% of 2008 Obama voters say they're inclined to vote Republican next time while only 2% who voted for McCain say they would now vote for Obama." In 2008, the 2-party vote was 55/45 O/M. That gives a pretty much split 50/50 decision (instead of the 42/52 you quote.)

Dustin Ingalls said...

"A major issue with these numbers is that these are from *2010 likely voters.* And the universe of 2010 likely voters contains far more Republicans and far less Democrats than 2008, and likely 2012. So I suggest a better way to gauge the results would be to weigh the numbers to Obama/McCain 2008 results."

I did that in the press release. Click the link for the full results to see how the numbers change.

Anonymous said...

By 2012, The National Popular Vote bill could guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere would be equal and counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

Now 2/3rds of the states and voters are ignored — 19 of the 22 smallest and medium-small states, and big states like California, Georgia, New York, and Texas. The current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states, and not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution, ensure that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Voter turnout in the “battleground” states has been 67%, while turnout in the “spectator” states was 61%. Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia (3), Maine (4), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), New Jersey (15), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (11). The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes — 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

NRH said...

National Popular Vote would be a nightmare to actually maintain. Remember Florida 2000. Now imagine that in every single district across the entire country. And what happens if a non-NPV state tallies up its vote, says "Yup, this guy won by a large margin and that's it" and refuses to perform recounts, or doesn't bother to count absentee votes because there were fewer absentee votes than the margin of victory?

If a state wants to get attention at the national level, then its population can be honestly open to voting for either candidate. Democrats don't put a lot of effort into trying to persuade Fox viewers (who vote at 90%+ rates for Republicans), and Republicans don't put a lot of effort into trying to win over black voters, because they aren't very receptive to Republican candidates. A single voter who is potentially 'winnable' for both sides gets more attention. The same goes for states.

Christian Liberty said...

This is a HIGH POINT in Obama's popularity, NOT a "low time". Obama's current approval and reelect numbers are a ceiling, not a floor. As the truth of Obama's destructive agenda is revealed, his numbers will only fall further.

The outsized optimism (given Obama's disastrous mismanagement of the economy) is still exceedingly high. Given how complacent people have become about the impending double dip and the next wave of foreclosures and unemployment, Obama stands to suffer much more politically than anything he has yet seen. The ridiculously high number of people who actually believe Obama has done anything to improve the economy is testimony to how much further Obama's approval ratings will fall... and how overwhelming his landslide defeat will be in 2012.

Unless Obama and the Demoncrat party repudiate their entire agenda and become Tea Party conservatives, 2012 will be another landslide Republican victory... and the Republican primary will decide who will be in the White House in 2013.

Christian Liberty said...

"It is crystal clear that being a patriotic American who loves this country is intellectually incompatible with being a Democrat. If you love America and want it to prosper, the Democrat Party is at absolute odds with everything we need for a thriving, successful economy.

Hillary supporters realize this."


As millions of former Democrats, including myself, realize how evil the Democrat Party has become, we recognize that it is our solemn moral duty to expose the evils of the left and return America to morality, liberty, and prosperity. Those who understand and revere the greatness of America have no choice but to oppose evil (Democrats) and support virtue (Republicans).

Anonymous said...

The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

A nationwide recount would not happen. We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election. The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires. The larger the number of voters in an election, the smaller the chance of close election results.

Recounts in presidential elections would be far less likely to occur under a national popular vote system than under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each separate state).

Based on a recent study of 7,645 statewide elections in the 26-year period from 1980 through 2006 by FairVote:
*The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 274 votes.
*The original outcome remained unchanged in over 90% of the recounts.
*The probability of a recount is 1 in 332 elections (23 recounts in 7,645 elections), or once in 1,328 years.

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