How bad is Barack Obama’s reelections chances … PPP has Connecticut, yes, the Nutmeg state is a 2012 Presidential Swing state.
According to Public Policy Polling, Connecticut is a toss up for Barack Obama in the 2012 election. How is this possible? Barack Obama won Connecticut in the 2008 elections by 23 points over John McCain, 61% – 38%. However, Obama’s approval rating in CT is presently underwater at 48% approve, 49% disapprove. Will states like Connecticut be considered battle grown/swing states in 2012?
Connecticut isn’t a place that would go on anybody’s list of swing states but Barack Obama is in a statistical tie with Mitt Romney there, leading only 47-45.
Obama’s poor showing in Connecticut is mostly a function of his own unpopularity. Despite having won it by 23 points in 2008 his approval numbers are now under water at 48/49. That represents a 17 point net shift in the wrong direction since PPP last polled the state in March- at that time Obama’s approval was a positive 55/39 spread. The decline has come because he’s unpopular with independents (41/53) and also because an unusually high 20% of Democrats disapprove of the job he’s doing.
With such a poor showing in Connecticut, the question becomes how will Obama’s poor approval ratings affect the other New England states? Once considered safe, dark blue states, Obama has made all of them battleground states and will be forced to campaign in them in 2012. Every one considered Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada and Virgina battleground states; however, Obama is on path to make states that he easily won in 2008 like Michigan, Wisconsin, and the New England one’s to be swing states in 2012.
The numbers in Connecticut shape up as part of a broader pattern- Obama is much weaker in New New England than he was in 2008. Earlier this month we found him ahead of Romney by just 13 points in Massachusetts where he won by 26 last time. In August he had a 20 point lead in Vermont over Romney, after taking the state by 37 points over John McCain. When we polled New Hampshire in July Obama had a 2 point deficit to Romney after winning the state by 9 last time. A Maine poll in March, well before Obama’s numbers really started hitting record lows, found him ahead by only 8 after a 17 point victory in 2008.
But I think even worse for Obama than the decline in the intensity of support among Democrats–because after all, where they are going to go–on election day they’ll be out there for him–is the number on independents. The number on independents is staggeringly bad. 31% approval of independents.
Obama won the election of 2008 on the basis of independents, and the first hint of trouble came in the off-year elections at end of 2009 in Virginia and New Jersey, where independents in states that had gone Obama went 2-1 against Obama. Then in the Senate race for the so-called Kennedy seat in January of 2010 the independents went 3 to 1 against Democrats. And I think if Obama cannot rise from the 31% approval he has among independents he is going to suffer a landslide.
It gets worse for Democrats. How will Obama’s poor job approval drag down other House and Senate races in these states? Democrats have to defend US Senate seats in 2012 in each of the following states, Michigan, Virginia, West Virginia (2), New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska, Florida and Connecticut (an Independent who caucuses with Dems). What will the “Obama” effect be in these races?