At this point there's little doubt that the tax cut deal was a big winner for Barack Obama. Over the last two weekends PPP polled in the ultimate swing states of Florida and Ohio. Not only do voters in both states support the deal, but that support is pretty broad based. All six party groups (Democrats, Republicans, and independents in the two states) support the deal. It is true that liberals are unhappy- in each state they say they oppose the deal and in both states Obama's approval with them is down from October. But Obama's seen huge gains in his numbers with moderates, who are far more numerous than liberals in both states. Because of that Obama's overall approval numbers in Florida and Ohio are the best they've been in months. Here's the state by state breakdown:
-In Florida Obama's approval is still in slightly negative territory at 45/49 but the -4 spread on that matches the best PPP has found in six polls conducted in the state over the course of 2010. Liberals don't like the tax deal there, opposing it by a 48/43 margin. Partially as a result of that Obama's approval with them is down from 81% in late October to now 67%. With moderates though, who are twice as numerous in Florida as liberals, Obama's up from 51% approval then to now 62%. That more than makes up for his diminished popularity with liberals and his overall approval is up 5 points from 40% right before the election.
-In Ohio Obama's still pretty unpopular at a 42/49 approval spread but this is the first time in five PPP polls of the state this year that his disapproval has gone below 53%. Just like in Florida liberals oppose the deal, by a 41/39 margin in this case. And Obama's popularity with them is diminished, from 80% approval in late October to now 67%. But with moderates his approval is up 13 points from 50% to 63% and just like in Florida there are at least 2 moderates for everyone who identifies as a liberal. Because of that his overall approval is up 4 points from 38% right before the election.
Last week we found that Obama led all of his top potential Republican opponents for reelection in Ohio and we'll release numbers later this week showing that the same is true in Florida. Even though liberal voters in the states are unhappy with him on this issue they're still saying they'll vote for him in 2012, even if their votes might not be as enthusiastic this time around as they were in 2008. Meanwhile he's picking up the support from the middle that he's going to need to break over 50% in his reelection bid. You can certainly make a fair argument either way ideologically for whether the tax deal was a good idea but politically it's proving to be a winner.