Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Obama strong in Minnesota

In 2000 and 2004 Minnesota was one of the closest states in the country in the Presidential race, with John Kerry winning it by 3 points and Al Gore by only 2. But Barack Obama had a blow out win there in 2008 and if the state voted today 2012 would be more of the same- Obama has wide leads over all of the Republican candidates in the state, even former Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Obama is decently popular in Minnesota with 51% of voters approving of him to 44% who disapprove. He is incredibly polarizing as he is most places, but there are slightly more Republicans (6%) who approve of him than there are Democrats (4%) who disapprove. Combine that with the state's Democratic identification advantage and the fact that he breaks even with independents and it's a formula for polling over 50%.

Obama's approval spread is +7 but he leads the Republicans we tested against him by anywhere from 8 to 21 points. That's because Obama's strong early leads have less to do with him being popular than the GOP field being incredibly unpopular in Minnesota. Home state candidate Pawlenty has the 'best' favorability numbers but still comes down at a -13 spread (40/53). Next best is Herman Cain at -18 (17/35), then Mitt Romney at -24 (29/53), Michele Bachmann at -26 (33/59), Sarah Palin at -35 (30/65), and Newt Gingrich at -48 (17/65).

Why are the Republicans all so unpopular? There are two themes running through their numbers. They are all considerably more unpopular with Democrats than they are with GOP voters. That's something that will probably change at least a little bit once the party has a candidate and the base starts to unite around that person. The second theme is a bigger concern- these folks are all a big turn off to independent voters. Pawlenty has the best numbers with independent at a -6 spread, the nominal frontrunner at this point Romney has a -17 spread, and Palin who joins Romney near the top of the national GOP polling right now is at -34 with them. That's something Republicans will have to find a way to overcome.

Obama defeated McCain by 10 points in 2008 in Minnesota. Only Pawlenty improves on that performance, trailing by 8 points at 51-43. Romney trails by 15 points at 51-36, Gingrich is down 18 at 54-36, Palin has a 20 point deficit at 56-36, Bachmann is 21 points back in her home state at 56-35, and Cain starts 21 points behind as well at 51-30.

Over the last couple weeks PPP polls have found Obama in a strong position in the former swing states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. His strength in those places should put him in a position to work to expand the electoral map again next year as he did in 2008.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

With your recent midwest polling you've just proved how bogus your polls are.

Inkan1969 said...

As goes Minnesota, so goes the rest of the region?

I remember that in 2008, Obama won MN by only 10%, but he won by between 12% and 20% in MI and WI. If he's doing well in MN, does that mean he's doing better in MI and WI?

Dustin Ingalls said...

"If he's doing well in MN, does that mean he's doing better in MI and WI?"

Well, we just showed him doing very well in WI a few weeks ago, so....

Statistikhengst said...

Inkan1969 wrote:

"I remember that in 2008, Obama won MN by only 10%, but he won by between 12% and 20% in MI and WI. If he's doing well in MN, does that mean he's doing better in MI and WI? "

What is the meaning of "only"? Obama won MN by +10.24%, which is a LANDSLIDE margin. GWB 41 won in 1988 nationally by +7.73% and the GOP screamed from the rooftops what a landslide it was. Well, if +7.73% is a landslide, then so is +10.24%! It is true that his margin in MN was less than in WI (+13.90%) and in MI (+16.44% - one of the great unsung crushing landslides of 2008), but this state has a more democratic voting history than either WI or MI. To be clear, MN has gone DEM for 9 cycles in a row, all the way back to 1976. It took a massive Nixon landslide in 1972 of 60.80% nationally to flip this state. Not even Reagan could flip MN. It has gone DEM for 17 of the last 20 cycles, all the way back to 1932. Obama's margin in MN is less than I expected in 2008, but in line with Clinton's first election (1992) and Carter's margin in 1976. If the most popular GOP president in recent history could not flip this state in his re-election campaign in 1984, then a sitting democratic president who is very popular in this state is not about to lose it.

WI, on the other hand, has gone DEM for the last 6 cycles, since 1988. Before that, it's electoral history is much more mixed: between 1952 and 1984, it was a predominantly GOP state. Obama's margin in WI is the largest for a any candidate candidate since 1964 and you have to go back to 1956 to find a republican candidate to have won this state with a higher margin than Obama.

MI has a pretty much 50-50 electoral history: it has gone for the DEMS for the last 5 cycles (1992-2008), but for the GOP for the 5 cycles before (1972-1988), then for the DEMS for 3 cycles (1960-1968), then for the GOP for 3 cycles (1948-1956). Through the great depression and WWII it went democratic for 3 of 4 cycles (1932-1944), but from 1856-1928, it was a rock-solid GOP state. Obama's margin in MI was the largest for a democrat since 1964, but Reagan carried the state by a larger margin in 1984 (+18.99%).

I brought you this history lesson to remind that it is easy to act like a jackass, but math wins over jackassery every time.

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