Friday, July 8, 2011

Obama weak in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is looking more and more like it could be a tough hold for Barack Obama in 2012. His approval rating in the state continues to be under water at 46/48. More voters have expressed disapproval than happiness with Obama on all three polls PPP has done in the state so far in 2011. And even though Obama took Pennsylvania by 10 points in 2008 the best he can muster right now in a head to head match up with Mitt Romney is a tie.

Obama's problem in Pennsylvania appears to be the 'Hillary Democrats' finally causing him a real issue. There was a lot of speculation in 2008 that they wouldn't vote for him in the general election but in the end they did. Now though his approval rating with Democrats in the state is only 74%, well below his national numbers, and with white Democrats it goes down even further to 70%. Meanwhile Republicans are much more unified in their disapproval of Obama (85%, with only 10% approving) and the President's not getting any favors from independents either who break down slightly negatively (44/45) in their assessments of him.

Obama's poll numbers are worse in Pennsylvania than they are in places like Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and New Mexico, all states that went Republican in 2004 even as Pennsylvania voted Democratic. The President's persistently poor numbers in a state that's gone Democratic in every Presidential election for the last 24 years probably make Pennsylvania the place where Obama should be most concerned about his current standing.

It does though look like the Republicans are going to need to nominate Mitt Romney to take advantage of Obama's weakness in the state. He fights Obama to a tie while all the rest of the Republicans, including home state candidate Rick Santorum, trail him by at least 7 points. Obama and Romney run even at 44% with the former Massachusetts Governor picking up 18% of the Democratic vote and holding 80% support from GOP voters. None of the other Republicans get more than 15% of the Democrats and Romney's the only one who gets 80% of his own party's vote.

After Romney the next strongest candidate is Michele Bachmann who trails by 7 points at 50-43. Then it's Tim Pawlenty down 8 at 47-39, Santorum with a 10 point deficit at 50-40, Hermain Cain 12 points behind at 49-37, and Sarah Palin as always bringing up the rear with a 14 point disadvantage at 53-39.

If there's one thing Obama does have going for him in Pennsylvania it's that voters don't think much of any of his prospective Republican opponents either. Bachmann has the 'best' favorability rating but it's still a -7 spread at 34/41. That's followed by Romney (35/46) and Cain (22/33) at -11, Pawlenty (21/39) at -18, Palin (36/57) at -21, and Santorum (31/54) at -23. Obama's able to tie Romney and lead the rest of the GOP hopefuls despite his own unpopularity because they are even more unpopular. It's just another reminder that with the economy still doing poorly Obama's best hope may be for the Republicans to put forth someone so unpalatable that he wins on a sort of 'lesser of two evils' vote.

Pennsylvania looks like it will be a lot tougher for Democrats than it was last time and Obama's struggles there are going to make keeping the Virginias and Colorados and North Carolinas of the world that much more important to his reelection prospects.

Full results here


Jonny V said...

The GOP is going to have to nominate Romney to have a chance.

What's so great is so many people on the right are doing everything they can do destroy that chance because they want a true Tea Party nut as their nominee.

I also think that as badly as Bachmann does in general election polls now; she would do far worse when the actually election came around. She is an absolute nut and when people learn more about her, they will go running in the opposite direction.

Anonymous said...

Please poll Ron Paul too. There's no reason he should be the odd man out.

Anonymous said...

Actually there is not much change from your last Penn State poll in April. Hard to see Penn State go GOP if the current GOP Gov is unpopular.

NRH said...

The head-to-head / party crosstabs have some interesting information. Obama gets about 50% of independents against all comers except Pawlenty and Romney; against them, he gets about 40, but all of that goes into the 'undecided' column rather than into any greater support for Romney or Pawlenty. It's rather the flip side of the Texas analysis from the other day - there are a lot of Democratic-leaning voters not committing yet, but unlikely to cross lines even if they don't declare themselves as actively partisans.

Anonymous said...

But you didn't poll Ron Paul there even though he got 16 % last primary before his popularity took off. And Ron Paul was born there and lived there until shortly after Rand was born -- and maintained ties there. And he polls much higher nationally than Santorum.

: smintheus :: said...

You need a crosstab for regions of the state. That's where there is going to be the most significant variation in Obama's support.

His support among older voters has always been soft. Now his support among voters under 30 has become weak. The fact that so many young voters are willing to consider voting for a loon like Bachmann speaks volumes about disaffection with Obama's performance.

Don't see evidence that his drop in support among Dems is related to Clinton supporters. Obama has been a weak president, has not pursued many Democrat priorities, and has done little to address unemployment. With that record, he can't count on anybody's support.

Todd Dugdale said...

Anonymous wrote:
"Please poll Ron Paul too."

Everyone, including you, knows that the poll will show Paul far behind.

Everyone, including you, knows that you will then stridently denounce the polling as fake, biased, rigged, and "a joke".

It's kind of amazing that the people who regularly show up here telling everyone that PPP's work is "crap" seem to have no problem demanding more of it.

In the real world, wanting something to be true does not necessarily equate to something being true.

wt said...

Please add Ron Paul to both sides of the poll next time. I.e. what if Republican Ron Paul squared off against bizarro Democrat Ron Paul in the Presidential race in North Carolina.

Todd Dugdale said...

If Obama's favourables breaking 46/48 is bad, then Romney's breaking 35/46 must be considered to be dismal.

I see Romney picking up 9% of those with an unfavourable opinion of him to be classic "soft support". Consider also that only 45% of McCain voters have a favourable opinion of him. Contrast this with Bachmann and Palin showing 57% and 69% with McCain voters.

So 34% of McCain voters don't like Romney, but say they will vote for him against Obama. Obama has 80% approval of those who voted for him in 2008, and 76% of them say they will vote for him.

Looking at those numbers, which side has a likely enthusiasm/turnout/momentum problem?

Anonymous said...

Jonny V is obviously clueless. Ask any political operative and they'll tell you that any time an incubment is polling at 50% or lower s/he is in serious trouble. The fact that Obama, in a PPP poll no less, can't pull away from any of the legit GOP nominees in PA, a state he MUST have to win shows how weak he is right now.
As for the person who mention the GOP Gov (Corbett): A) He's not as unpopular as you think, B) There is not a single bit of hard evidence from any previous election that voters' views of their governor have any substantial effect on how they vote in the presidential race. Keeping wishing though, b/c the way the economy looks right now, wishes will be all Obama supporters have left come 11/12.

Kevin said...

Republican path to victory is something like this:
1. Nominate Rommey
2. Pick Susana Martinez or Marco Rubio as VP
3. Dump money into Pennsylvania
4. ???
5. President Romney

I predict you're going to see Romney targetting Ohio and Pennsylvania like crazy. Perhaps even Michigan. And while he's doing that, Martinez/Rubio campaign in states like FL, NM, NV and CO.

I think 1 is probably the hardest for them to achieve.

Anonymous said...

@ Jonny V:

Please grow a pair! Most conservatives and Republicans alike are SICK of the fact that there is NEVER a TRUE CONSERVATIVE on the ballot. Romney would lose the same way McCain did. We want SUBSTANCE over SLICK. Give me Bachmann, Palin, or Ron Paul ANY DAY over McCain or Romney.

Anonymous said...

Well Todd like a fool once said, in the real world, wanting something to be true does not necessarily equate to something being true.

What is truly needed is a primary challenge to Obama. He is on his way to being as damaged as Bush was in his second term.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Ask any political operative and they'll tell you that any time an incubment is polling at 50% or lower s/he is in serious trouble."

Uh, not true. As I said in another thread, if I had a nickel for every time an incumbent was polling under 50% almost a year and a half before an election, I'd be Warren Buffett.

"As for the person who mention the GOP Gov (Corbett): A) He's not as unpopular as you think"

He's no John Kasich or Rick Scott, no, but a lot of PA voters are undecided on him. Still, he's certainly not popular. His 34-44 approval-disapproval mark in April isn't too pretty.

"Give me Bachmann, Palin, or Ron Paul ANY DAY over McCain or Romney."

I hope Republican voters agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Why do you still poll Cain and Pawlenty? Both of them do weaker than Paul in the primary polling and there is no particular reason for them to be there anymore instead of Paul.

also, @todd, general election polls generally show Ron Paul either performing best against Obama or second/third. This is because what he lacks for in strength among Republicans he makes up for in strength with independents. Obama still probably wins, true, but Obama still wins against just about all of the Republicans right now.

NRH said...

First, Romney hasn't a whelk's chance in a supernova of taking Michigan. "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" made him persona non grata in that state. Nobody else on the Republican side comes anywhere close either.

Any Republican candidate for 2012 who looks at the electoral map knows that they have an awful lot of must-win states. Obama holds large, solid leads in most of the states that went blue in all three of the prior Presidential elections (that is, any state that voted for Gore AND voted for Kerry AND voted for Obama). Pennsylvania is the only state meeting those criteria so far that looks like it might have any chance of being competitive in 2012. Balancing that, though, are Colorado and Virginia, both of which are looking like easy Obama holds so far, as well as Iowa where he's also held a solid consistent lead.

If Obama holds the rest of the solid-blue states, plus Virginia, Colorado, and Iowa, then Republicans need to sweep every other swing state plus Pennsylvania to eke out a very narrow win. That would be coming from behind in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and either emerging from a tie or holding to tiny leads in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Arizona. Losing any of Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, or Pennsylvania makes the map unwinnable for a Republican. Losing Missouri or Arizona along with any other state also makes the map unwinnable for a Republican.

It's not no chance, but when one side needs to win everything and the other side only needs to win anything, there's a pretty clear advantage showing.

James Carville said...

Pennsylvania is Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in the middle.

I Am Iron Man said...

RE: "The fact that so many young voters are willing to consider voting for a loon like Bachmann speaks volumes about disaffection with Obama's performance."

I really think it has far more to do with those young voters not being aware of who Michele Bachmann is. My fellow political junkies often forget how out of the loop so many of our fellow Americans are. Particularly young ones.

Anonymous said...

A huge supporter of OBAMA. Obama 2012! Please don't forget to donate to his campaign :)

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