Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Obama in dicey shape in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's looking like it could be a very tough state for Barack Obama in 2012. His approval rating there is only 42% with 52% of voters disapproving of him, and he's within the margin of error in the state against 3 potential Republican opponents, a far cry from his double digit victory there in 2008.

Obama has two major problems in the state: independents and white Democrats. A majority of independents disapprove of him- 54% give him bad marks to 39% who think he's doing a good job. More concerning is that his approval rating with Democrats is only 68%, well below the 81% we find for him nationally. He's doing fine with black Democrats- an 86% approval rating- but with white Democrats he's at only a 64/27 spread.

Those numbers suggest that a lot of the voters who fueled Hillary Clinton's primary victory in the state and then sucked it up and voted for Obama in the general election the last time around haven't been real thrilled with what they've seen from him so far and could split their tickets next year- if the Republicans put up someone who's seen as a reasonable alternative.

Obama is basically tied in the state with Mitt Romney, who he trails 43-42, Mike Huckabee, who he leads 45-44, and Rick Santorum, who he leads 45-43. What has to be concerning for Obama beyond those topline numbers is that the Republicans poll competitively with him despite the fact that they themselves are not well liked. Huckabee's net favorability is a -6 spread at 37/43, and Romney and Santorum are both at -10 spreads at 31/41 and 37/47 respectively. The fact that they tie Obama without being all that appealing makes you wonder how much trouble the President will be in here if the party's nomination process actually does result in a strong candidate.

Of course the Republicans could bail Obama out- if either Newt Gingrich or Sarah Palin ended up as their party nominee. If their GOP peers are slightly unpopular Gingrich and Palin are positively reviled by voters in the state- Gingrich's favorability is 25/54 and he trails Obama 47-39 while Palin's favorability is 33/61 and she trails Obama 50-39. Obama's looking at a landslide in Pennsylvania and everywhere else for that matter if one of those folks were to somehow snag the nomination.

Obama's position in Pennsylvania is undeniably precarious- whether the GOP will be able to take advantage or not remains to be seen.

Full results here

31 comments:

Matt D said...

We should wait until we see other polls, but this seems like an outlier. PA is slightly more Democratic than the nation as a whole, so Obama isn't likely winning nationwide while losing PA.

Again, it could obviously be right, but let's wait.

Anonymous said...

With -10 approval, tied against oppenents is good. Also, No way 21% of AA in PA will vote for Romney over Obama. Last week was not a good week for Obama with the possible shutdown. Don't worry, The clinton voters will come home when the tv-ads will run and the campaign will really kick off.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

Landslide against Palin?

You may want to look at who the undecideds are...they are nearly all people who have already voted for her for VP.

there are around four times as many undecided McCain voters as Obama voters. She's pretty much going win an overwhelming majority of the undecideds. So the final margin for her and Obama in PA is going to be less than the McCain/Obama margin.

I Am Iron Man said...

Here's hoping Huckabee doesn't run and Romney doesn't win. I want the GOP nominee in 2012 to be some completely unelectable lunatic like Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, or Sarah Palin.

I know this is a risky thing to wish for but I think the end result of the GOP having such a terrible nominee would be a very good thing for the country as it would lead not only to Obama winning four more years but to the Democrats likely holding onto the Senate and taking back the House.

RC said...

2012 is shaping up to be another 2000/2004-type election i.e. a very close election. The GOP will unify behind any candidate they nominate just like Dems did for John Kerry in 2004 with their strong anti-Bush vote. The anti-Obama vote is pretty consistent and strong.

Sean said...

@ Iron man- The Democrats won't be taking back the House in 2012, that is a pipe dream. Republicans will pick up at least 2 Senate seats for sure(North Dakota and Nebraska) and will probably flip the seat held by Tester(MT)and Allen has a solid shot at getting his old seat back. So Obama could get re-elected but the Senate numbers are in favor of the GOP so he could be looking at a Republican House and Senate.

Anonymous said...

Did you poll a possible Senate rematch between Santorum vs Casey?

If Santorum ties with Obama, then perhaps PA voters will want him back as Senator?

Anonymous said...

This is rather odd considering you've shown better numbers for Obama in states that would seem a lot tougher.

Not questioning your methods or anything (your track record speaks for itself), but this seems outlier-ish to me.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"You may want to look at who the undecideds are...they are nearly all people who have already voted for her for VP."

Yeah, if you assign all the undecided McCain voters to her and all the undecided Obama voters to him, and the others proportionately to where they are now, Obama would win only 53-47. But you can't assume all those undecided McCain voters will jump in line behind her. We frequently find more undecided Republicans when Obama is matched against her than anyone else because even though they hate Obama, some of them aren't sure they could vote for Palin either, so you'd probably end up seeing a margin wider than 6 points if enough of them stay home, vote third-party, or abstain from voting in that race altogether.

"This is rather odd considering you've shown better numbers for Obama in states that would seem a lot tougher."

This is the worst decline we've seen for him in any state we've polled. He's holding up pretty well in VA, NC, and other states with higher minority populations, but has declined in a lot of very white Midwestern and Northern states.

wt said...

PPP polls are only accurate when they show Democrats winning. If the Republicans look like they're in good shape, it must be an outlier.

Take the good with the bad, folks.

Anonymous said...

Dustin,

If an undecided is really unsure in an Obama-Palin matchup, that undecided person is more than likely to going to vote for Palin regardless of party affiliation.

There is every reason in the world to vote for Obama over Palin. If someone is genuinely undecided at this time despite all that's happened, that voter will vote for Palin.

Anonymous said...

And dustin, if Obama beats Palin 53/47 in PA, that's pretty much a tie.

If you don't think all the undecided McCain voters will vote for her, why would you not apply the same logic to Obama voters voting for Obama? Or the voters who say they didn't vote for either?

Dustin Ingalls said...

Also consider that these respondents reported voting for Obama over McCain by only 4 points, which is actually a point less than when we asked that question in our final 2010 poll. This is not much different an electorate than last fall, where in other states we're finding more of a bounceback to 2008, what you'd expect as you head into a presidential year with a wider, broader turnout with more Democrats, minorities, and younger folks.

Anonymous said...

Uh...flipping the House back isn't a pipe dream at all...actually I suspect that the likeliest outcome after 2012 is that the Senate and the House both flip.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Dustin,

If an undecided is really unsure in an Obama-Palin matchup, that undecided person is more than likely to going to vote for Palin regardless of party affiliation.

There is every reason in the world to vote for Obama over Palin. If someone is genuinely undecided at this time despite all that's happened, that voter will vote for Palin."

That makes no more sense than assuming the opposite.

"If you don't think all the undecided McCain voters will vote for her, why would you not apply the same logic to Obama voters voting for Obama? Or the voters who say they didn't vote for either?"

Democrats hate Palin even more than Republicans hate Obama (see our Sheen poll), and independents are far, far more down on Palin than Obama. Whatever combo of Democrats and independents who voted for Obama last time are now undecided when faced with the choice of him and Palin, they're far less likely to vote for her than undecided McCain voters are to vote for Obama.

Kevin said...

If a Republican wins in 2012, it'll be because they won Pennsylvania. It's the only path to victory.

Anonymous said...

Dustin,

But your poll is more Democrat friendly (51%) despite the McCain/Obama difference.

Anonymous said...

"PPP polls are only accurate when they show Democrats winning. If the Republicans look like they're in good shape, it must be an outlier."

Heh, it's not that. I was just amazed Obama's holding up decently in, say, North Carolina of all places (which I'd be rather amazed if Obama actually won) while he's had a huge fall-off in blue-leaning Pennsylvania.

I mean it's fully possible, and the minority factor mentioned is interesting, it just struck me as odd at face value.

Anonymous said...

Last year, 40% of the voters in PA were democrats. In 2008, 44% of the voters in PA were democrats. In 2004, 41% of the voters in PA were democrats.

In this poll, you have democrats at 51%.

Similar situation to the NH poll.

From where are all these democrats coming from? Why are you predicting that the % of democrats voting will break all-time records? I mean, 2008 was the perfect storm for us and you're predicting huge improvements.

Are you predicting a low turnout election in which only democrats show-up? Aren't republicans and indies more enthusiastic than that?

I'm genuinely curious.

I Am Iron Man said...

Sean - I see no reason to think that the Democrats can't win back the House. I would say that holding onto the Senate may actually be more difficult because of how few openings the Democrats have to pick up seats while so many vulnerable Democratic seats are open.

But as far as the House goes I believe the Republican majority will be (and is already becoming as evidenced by PPP's polls) extremely unpopular by 2012 and with the voting populace far better for the Democrats I see no reason why they can't take back the majority.

The Republicans are going to be fighting for more tax cuts for the rich and eliminating Medicare. How in the hell do you think that is going to go over with average voters?

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Heh, it's not that. I was just amazed Obama's holding up decently in, say, North Carolina of all places (which I'd be rather amazed if Obama actually won) while he's had a huge fall-off in blue-leaning Pennsylvania."

He won NC last time. Makes a lot of sense if you know the state.

: smintheus :: said...

PA is union-friendly. Obama has done little for unions and is seen as a sell-out. The more he shifts rightward, the more unpopular he'll become in PA. The main issue in 2012 will be turnout. Unless the GOP nominates a lunatic, they'll have solid support from Republican voters. But even if the economy were to recover miraculously, it's harder to see how Obama will generate enthusiasm among Democrats given his record of timidity, ineptitude, and tepid "bipartisanship". Who really is eager for 4 more years of this? The enthusiasm gap in PA is likely to get bigger by 2012, not smaller.

Anonymous said...

Kevin,
If you use the updated electoral college following the 2010 census,the republican path to the white house is as follows:
Indiana, North Carolina, Florida,
Ohio and Virginia

plus one of

New Hampshire, Colorado, Iowa Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota,

or possibly Nevada or Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania is critical to Obama, but not to a Republican. If Obama loses PA he is in deep trouble

DavidE said...

Obama has to realize that getting involved in Libya was the last straw for voters who are still angry at Bush over Iraq.

I think he will probably lose in 2012 unless the Republicans nominate a complete dud.

Anonymous said...

If it's an outlier, then it is the time. Political insiders are being ripped by the public for the budget impasse between the President and Congress, a shaky situation in a middle-eastern country, and high gas prices. Huckabee and Romney don't have those problems right now and have done the wise thing to avoid them.

The Obama 48 - House GOP 42 split may have more relevance in 2012, even in Pennsylvania. About the only thing likely to remain as an issue to the benefit of the Republican nominee will be high gas prices.

A Right ALTERNATIVE Voice said...

This poll is pretty accurate, within the margin as much as any poll. Some people are shocked to see Obama doing so poorly in PA, but lets remember PA always polls a couples points in favor of Republicans than it does Democrats due to larger turn outs in Philly than usually generated in polls. But regardless, PA will be tough for Obama to capture. A lot of people, independents and democrats don't really like Obama. Many party loyalist and liberals will still go out and vote for him. But if the republican front unifies behind the GOP candidate, its lights out. But like in our governor race in 2010, uniting republicans in PA is almost impossible. No conservative or libertarian will vote for Romney, while many college moderates may pick Obama over Huckabee.
I hope this latest wave of good press for Santorum brings his numbers up against a Casey rematch. He could win.

SWPAnnA said...

he carried Pittsburgh & Philly and the State College kids in Center. The Wimminz are flipping the Dems the Bird in the booth and if Palin is the candidate, don't bet against the Gender upping their representation above 16% to match their 52% pop/51% workforce. The Obats & Trolls won't score as big with the race card this time, now that we have an actual Record to compare to the Hope & Change bogus-nesquess...he's still voting "Present" but only after he sees which way the wind blows.

Anonymous said...

It seesms as Obama camapigns, he loses support.

Could it be as they see him campaign, they also are reminded and see even more of the unqualified phony and empty suit that he really is?

Many voters chose to assuage their consciences and thought voting for a black man as president was good for the country, long term.

But that is true, only if he proved to be a good Leader. Now there is no need for this kind of vote anymore, it has already been done, once.

Mr. Obama has tied a millstone on the neck of every future black aspirant for high office. Now they need to prove themselves not as much a total "affirmative action" non entity.

SWPAnnA said...

As he campaigns, so do Trump and all the others - except the Dems who have been bullied into conceding ground based upon the way the earliest Primaries are stacked to favor the Race-baiters. Difference this time: Iowa's farmers now revealed to be the tiniest minority commandeering the nomination process buying the rhetoric and catapulting its winner from relative obscurity to the Press's "anointed one." R&BL Committee can't rig the FL/MI vote this time.

Anonymous said...

Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States of America. He will beat Obama in 2012. Here is how it is likely to play out: Romney will edge out a win in the primaries. He will start off a little rocky to Huckabee, esp. in the south, but will win easilly on Super Tuesday. In the general, Romney/Republicans will recapture the following states: Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and North Carolina - all of which went to Obama in 2008. This will yield a 269-269 tie in the electoral college. However, Romney is likely to win Nebraska, which would out him over the top at 274. However, recent reports suggest possible Republican captures of big democrat states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. If Romney were to win either of those, it is truly over for Obama. As of today, Romney would beat Obama in Pennsylvania. Remember, Romney is very popular with independents and women. As far as the blogger who is fed up with republicans disrespecting Obama, please spare us your phony outrage as you and yours were less than cordial to Bush.

Anonymous said...

Obama is a disaster as president. like a mean and devious version of jimmy carter, his failed liberal tripe will now cause a pricing crisis in the second half of his term, guaranteeing that we are a debtor nation for centuries. his foreign policy failures are already infamous; who knows what waits in the next two years. This will all guarantee his defeat, and the presence of a republican stonghold until they screw up sufficiently and the left's vile class warfare rhetoric once again takes hold in another 20 years....

 
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