Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Obama doesn't need to worry about a primary

It shouldn't come as any particular surprise but Barack Obama doesn't need to worry about a primary challenge next year- in Iowa or anywhere else for that matter.

Our Iowa poll this week found that Obama's approval rating with Democrats in the state is 79% to only 16% who disapprove of him. 66% of Democrats say they'd like him to be the nominee again. What makes the likelihood of a primary challenge even lower beyond that is that the folks who would support an alternative to Obama are split between wanting someone further to the left of the President and wanting someone further to the right.

Although there is considerably more speculation about opposition to Obama coming from liberals unhappy with him there are actually almost three times as many Democratic voters in Iowa- 20%- who would like a nominee more conservative than Obama as there are- 7%- who would prefer someone more liberal than him.

Obama's immunity to a primary challenge comes across in his national polling too. Our poll for Daily Kos this week found his approval numbers with Democrats nationwide almost identical to the ones in Iowa- a 79/15 spread. 72% of Democrats consider him ideologically to be 'about right' and the ones who do have a problem with him are split almost evenly between thinking he's too conservative (13%) and thinking he's too liberal (11%). This divide is what makes a potential primary challenge to Obama even more unlikely- since the Democrats who don't like him have very different reasons for that unhappiness it would be difficult for any single primary challenger to Obama to unite all the dissidents behind them.

So Obama has nothing to worry about for next year but we did ask Democrats in Iowa who they'd like to see the next party nominee be after Obama has moved along. Hillary Clinton is the overwhelming favorite at 44%, followed by Joe Biden at 13%. None of the other folks we threw in there managed to hit double digits- Andrew Cuomo at 7%, Russ Feingold at 5%, Oprah Winfrey at 4%, Cory Booker at 3%, and Brian Schweitzer and Mark Warner at 1%. Maybe if Hillary decides to run again she'll be able to exorcise her Iowa demons...but that's a long way off.

Full results here

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