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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Not-Great Polls for the President

Gallup reports:

President Barack Obama earned a 46.8% average approval rating in his 10th quarter in office ending July 19, essentially unchanged from the 9th quarter and still above his record-low 7th quarter.

The president's latest quarterly average is based on Gallup Daily tracking from April 20 through July 19. Across that time, his three-day rolling average approval ratings have been as high as 53% and as low as 42%, with the most recent readings falling on the lower end of that range.

Obama is in the company of several former elected presidents who averaged sub-50% approval during their 10th quarters in office. This includes three former presidents who won re-election -- Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan -- and one, Jimmy Carter, who lost. On the other hand, of the three presidents with exceptionally high average approvals at this stage, George H.W. Bush was ultimately defeated, while Dwight Eisenhower and George W. Bush prevailed.

At The Washington Post, Scott Clement writes:

President Obama and Mitt Romney, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, split 49 percent to 47 percent among registered voters in a hypothetical 2012 matchup in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

While Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) are weaker against the incumbent president, all Republican candidates amass heavy margins among tea party supporters, who are paying considerable attention to the election at this early stage.

Two-thirds of registered voters say they’re paying attention to the 2012 presidential election, with 20 percent reporting that they’re following it “very closely.” However, among strong supporters of the tea party movement — a group that tilts heavily Republican — the percentage following “very closely” is at 43 percent.

A news release from Public Policy Polling:

For the first time since last July Barack Obama does not lead Mitt Romney in PPP's monthly national poll on the 2012 Presidential race. Romney has now pulled into a tie with the President at 45%.

Obama's approval rating this month is 46% with 48% of voters disapproving of him.
There are 2 things particularly troubling in his numbers: independents split against him by a 44/49 margin, and 16% of Democrats are unhappy with the job he's doing while only 10% of Republicans give him good marks.

Romney takes advantage of those 2 points of weakness for Obama. He leads the
President by 9 points with independents at 46-37. And he earns more crossover support, getting 13% of the Democratic vote while only 8% of Republicans are behind Obama.

An extremely wide electability gap has developed between Romney and all the rest of the Republican candidates. Everyone else we tested trails Obama by at least as much as John McCain's 2008 margin of defeat and in most cases more. Obama's up 7 on Michele Bachmann at 48-41, 9 against Tim Pawlenty at 48-39, 12 versus Herman Cain at 48-36, and as usual has his largest lead in a match up with Sarah Palin at 53-37.

Here's an important note on all of this early 2012 polling: Obama's numbers are worse than they appear to be on the surface. The vast majority of the undecideds in all of these match ups disapprove of the job Obama's doing but aren't committing to a candidate yet while they wait to see how the Republican field shakes out. For instance if you allocate the undecides based on their approval/disapprove of Obama, Romney would lead 52-48.

“There’s a very good chance Barack Obama would lose if he had to stand for reelection today,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “This is his worst poll standing in a long time and he really needs the economy to start turning around.”

PPP surveyed 928 registered voters from July 15th to 17th. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.2%. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews. PPP is a Democratic polling company, but polling expert Nate Silver of the New York Times found that its surveys in 2010 actually exhibited a slight bias toward Republican candidates.