Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Obama vulnerable...

Despite his recent popularity spike there should be no mistaking it- Barack Obama is vulnerable for reelection. The problem for the GOP is that he's a lot more vulnerable against generic Republicans than the actual Republicans looking at the race. Nevertheless there's plenty of time for a lesser known GOP contender to rise from the back of the field and prove to be a strong contender, or maybe even for one of the current front runners to have an image makeover that makes them more viable in a general election.

Republican chances of taking down Obama are going to depend a lot on the type of candidate the party puts forward. Tested against a generic Republican we find Obama tied at 47%. When you ask about a couple more specific types of GOP candidates though the numbers move in different directions. Against a generic moderate Republican candidate Obama actually trails by 2 points at 46-44. But when you ask voters whether they'd go for Obama or a Tea Party conservative Republican he leads by 4 points at 49-45.

There's a particularly large difference in how independents lean depending on the type of nominee the GOP ends up going with- they prefer a moderate Republican over Obama by 7 points, but they prefer Obama over a Tea Party style GOPer by 5 points. There's no doubt Republican chances of defeating Obama will be best with a centrist. Whether the party base is really going to be willing to sacrifice some ideological purity to get that candidate is another question.

He may be tied with a generic Republican but Obama leads against all of the named candidates in this poll. He has a 3 point advantage over Mike Huckabee at 47-44, a 5 point one over Mitt Romney at 46-41, a 9 point one over Newt Gingrich at 49-40, a 9 point one also over Ron Paul at 48-39, a 12 point one over Sarah Palin at 52-40, a 14 point one over Jeb Bush at 50-36, and a 14 point one over Donald Trump at 48-34.

Obama does better against the real Republicans than the generic ones for a very simple reason: with the exception of Huckabee voters just don't like any of those folks. Huckabee does have a positive favorability rating, at 36/30. The rest are all in negative territory: Jeb Bush's net favorability is -8 (29/37), Mitt Romney's is -9 (33/42), Ron Paul's is -21 (24/45), Sarah Palin's is -22 (34/56), Newt Gingrich's is -25 (27/52), and Donald Trump's is -29 (27/56).

Trump is pretty strongly disliked across the political spectrum. 61% of Democrats, 53% of Republicans, and 52% of independents have a negative opinion of him. At least you can say he's a unifier.

The big takeaway from this poll: Obama is certainly still vulnerable but whether the GOP's going to be able to take advantage of that vulnerability is an open question. And the Republican base might be its own worst enemy when it comes to whether it's willing to nominate the kind of candidate who can win in November.

Full results here

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

no tpaw?

Anonymous said...

Obama is tied with generic GOP candidate when he is down with 2 pts but ahead of Huckabee when he is up with 3 pts. Come out of your bias!

Shadrach said...

At this point, vulnerability is to be expected, there's not a lot of solid support for Presidents are certainly points in their terms. The GOP does not have a cohesive vision or solid front runners, which is clearly giving the President a boost.

Anonymous said...

Learn to read, Mr. Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I think 76% of white voters is too high.

My prediction is 72.5%/73% and for other people, it's conservative.

I think the AA vote will be the same than 2008 ( 13%) ( AA are the most exited group to vote in 2012( dailykos poll) and they'll show up for re-elect Obama)

The hispanic vote will rise next year from 9% in 2008 to 10%

And the others minorities like Asians will be at 5% like 2008 or 5.5%.

72.5/73% White ; 13% AA ; 10% Hispanics ; 5/5.5% others.

I think this estimation is very close from what we'll see.

With 73% of white voters, OBAMA needs 41% of them( same % than Kerry got in 2004) and he wins.

Anonymous said...

Interesting poll, though I'd quibble about wording and impact. I know it's highly subjective and therefore probably difficult to poll, but is it possible that framing it as "moderate Republican" v "Tea Party conservative Republican" skews results in terms of perceptions? The fact that Romney would loses in the poll, for example, perhaps highlights this. He's a moderate by the standards of the GOP field in the context of the rise of the Tea Party, but he was considered a conservative in the 2008 field and still essentially is a conservative by mainstream standards (as opposed to what is traditionally regarded as a moderate Republican, e.g. Giuliani, Pataki etc).

icefire9atla said...

Anonymous,
No he is exactly tied with a generic GOP candidate, he is behind by two points when he is pitted against a MODERATE Republican candidate, which was stated in the article.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that there is a "Generic Republican" being polled. GIves more context to the results.

Is it safe to say that we have five frontrunners for the nomination in Huckabee, Romney, Paul, Gingrich and Palin? I would love to see the month-by-month results tracked against Obama.

I Am Iron Man said...

As an Obama supporter I find these numbers are bit disappointing actually - I was hoping for bigger leads. I find it insane that he only leads Palin by 12 points... most disturbing of all to me may be the small 4 point lead against a "Tea Party Republican" .. that's nuts! What's wrong with people? Tea Party = CRAZY.

Hopefully at least the right wingers that comment here will finally stop saying your biased. Consider that the recent FOX NEWS poll has bigger leads for Obama than this one! In the Fox poll Obama is up by over 20 against Palin.

Anonymous said...

Iron Man,

So are you conceding that Rasmussen isn't biased because these numbers are pretty close to Ras's numbers.

Kevin said...

Obama seems weaker here...only leading by 12 against Palin?

Dustin Ingalls said...

"no tpaw?"

We only ever poll Palin, Huck, Romney, and Newt against Obama, plus a bonus Republican (this month two, Paul and Trump) in the national poll. The bonus GOPer is decided by the blog readership poll every month. We did TPaw in his own state, and he couldn't win there, let alone nationwide, where he isn't well known even by Republican primary voters.

"Is it safe to say that we have five frontrunners for the nomination in Huckabee, Romney, Paul, Gingrich and Palin?"

No, I would never include Paul in a list of frontrunners. Trump was right about one thing. Of course, he could have included Palin and Gingrich in that unelectable category too.

"I would love to see the month-by-month results tracked against Obama."

What do you mean? We do do four of them against Obama every month.

"I find it insane that he only leads Palin by 12 points"

It's a slimmer lead than previously, but even so, no national popular vote has been decided by such a wide margin since 1984, when Reagan beat Mondale by 18. Mondale won only his home state of MN and DC that year.

"Hopefully at least the right wingers that comment here will finally stop saying your biased. Consider that the recent FOX NEWS poll has bigger leads for Obama than this one! In the Fox poll Obama is up by over 20 against Palin."

Cognitive dissonance. Ignore what doesn't jive.

Anonymous said...

Dustin,

Look at the undecideds. Palin isn't going to lose by 12 once everyone actually votes. There are no more undecided Democrats for Obama to win (your poll this month shows her winning more Democrats than Obama is winning Republicans).

Dustin Ingalls said...

Very true. Palin does tend to leave a lot of Republicans on the fence. But is that persistance of fence-sitters a good sign? Will they all truly rally to her side, or will they stay home, or will they even go to Obama? In most if not all states, Palin sees the most Republican erosion to the president of any of the four candidates, and in other is the ONLY Republican to lose more Republicans than Obama loses Democrats.

Anonymous said...

Dustin,

If she can get Obama under 50%, then it wouldn't be a problem. It looks like Obama blew whatever bounce he got from January (look at Gallup and Rasmussen and even your poll). And it's possible that she'll be able to pull closer in the next couple of months.

So if she were down 49-43, which is what some of your polling showed prior to Obama's brief surge, and if nearly all of the undecideds are people who have already voted for her for VP, I think she'd take that in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

Dustin,

Keep in mind too that we are in the early stages of the primary even though nobody has announced yet. of course they will be hard feelings for her from Republicans who support other candidates. Those feelings would dissipate with her as the actual nominee as they always do.

So it's quite reasonable to believe that people who voted for her for VP will all break towards her. In this case, the final margin would end up around 53-47 Obama over Palin if that were the case.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"In this case, the final margin would end up around 53-47 Obama over Palin if that were the case."

That's about right. But that's victory?

The Interesting Times said...

"Is it safe to say that we have five frontrunners for the nomination in Huckabee, Romney, Paul, Gingrich and Palin?"

I definitely wouldn't call Paul a frontrunner--so far he gets only 27 convention delegates by my estimate. Gingrich isn't doing much better, with 65 delegates.

Keep in mind that this is out of more than 2,000 delegates at the Republican convention (you need over 1,000 to win). Candidates with only a few dozen delegates are practically irrelevant. Gingrich and Paul are in pretty much the same category as Pawlenty, Thune, and Daniels, with 55, 27, and 7 delegates, respectively.

Contrast that with the two candidates I would call frontrunners: Huckabee who currently gets 764 delegates, and Romney who gets 494 delegates.

Palin is somewhere halfway between the two extremes with an estimated 274 delegates. If she runs, she'd be less of a frontrunner and more of a spoiler for someone else.

Anonymous said...

Dustin,

Yes but he'd win against anyone. Does any incumbent with a 49/46 approval rating lose?

Not only does Palin need for his approval to go down a lot further but so does everyone else.

I Am Iron Man said...

Another thing to consider is that not all of the GOP people are necessarily going to run.

What if the Huckster doesn't run and Palin does? That's my dream scenario personally - that seems to be situation where Palin would have a decent shot of becoming the nominee (and then getting trounced by Obama)

Anonymous said...

Interesting Times,

Assuming Huckabee doesn't run, what are the delegate numbers (assuming a split of 40% of Huck's vote to Palin and 18% to Romney as the last PPP poll showed)?

Rey Rod said...

Sarah Palin will BEAT Obama EASILY Next Year....

Anonymous said...

I was thinking that. A poll seeing how Palin does without Huckabee would be interesting, and maybe one with him but without Palin, and one without Gingrich. Of the 4 "top-tier" candidates, Romney seems to be the only one who is assumed certain to run, the other three are question marks, so while in terms of name rec it makes most sense to poll these 4, polls with all 4 of them may not ultimately be that valid.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Sarah Palin will BEAT Obama EASILY Next Year...."

Good luck with that fantasy.

The Interesting Times said...

"Assuming Huckabee doesn't run, what are the delegate numbers (assuming a split of 40% of Huck's vote to Palin and 18% to Romney as the last PPP poll showed)?"

I can look into that, but it'll take some time. Because there are winner-take-all states, non-binding primaries, and even more arcane methods of allocating delegates in some states, it's more complicated than just assigning 40% of Huckabee's delegates to Palin and 18% to Romney.

Can you link me to the poll you're referring to?

Anonymous said...

Interesting Times,

See PPP's most recent national primary poll.

The Interesting Times said...

Yes, I found it. In addition to computing the effects of Huckabee declining to run, I also estimated the effect of Palin declining to run, and of Gingrich declining to run. I don't consider a Romney no-show to be very likely, and it doesn't appear that the delegate count would be affected much if Paul, Pawlenty, Thune, or Daniels didn't run.

As a baseline, with all candidates in the running, my estimated delegate counts are as follows: 739 for Huckabee, 494 for Romney, 299 for Palin, 65 for Gingrich, 55 for Pawlenty, 27 each for Paul and Thune, and 7 for Daniels.

If Huckabee declines to run, I estimate that the delegate count would change to the following: 956 for Palin, 530 for Romney, 83 for Gingrich, 57 for Pawlenty, 35 for Paul, 27 for Thune, and 7 for Daniels.

If Palin declines to run, I estimate that the delegate count would be thus: 1,128 for Huckabee, 363 for Romney, 76 for Gingrich, 55 for Pawlenty, 36 for Paul, 27 for Thune, and 12 for Daniels.

Finally if Gingrich doesn't run, my estimated delegate count changes would be altered like so: 972 for Huckabee, 404 for Romney, 192 for Palin, 61 for Pawlenty, 27 each for Paul and Thune, and 7 for Daniels.

Clearly Palin would benefit most if Huckabee declined to run. She would be favored for nomination, moreso than Huckabee is right now, but Romney would actually be in a better position than he is today. With several likely Romney strongholds in the Northeast and West still unpolled, there is a very slight possibility that the result could be a hung convention.

If Palin doesn't run, Huckabee would be only 63 delegates away from clinching the nomination right now, with several states still unpolled. Additionally, Romney would pose less of a threat to him. In this case, I think it is extremely likely that Huckabee would be the Republican facing Obama on election day.

If Gingrich doesn't run, Huckabee would benefit at Romney's and Palin's expense. Huckabee would be the probable nominee in this scenario, with a hung convention being just barely conceivable.

Anonymous said...

Why even consider Huckabee?? All anybody needs to say about him and his viability are: MAURICE CLEMMONS, MURDERER OF FOUR COPS!!

Gary Sartori said...

Obama is assured of a second term because the Republicans are going to nominate someone so right wing, it'll be a total turnoff to independents.

 
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