Consider this an addendum to yesterday’s post on Nate Silver’s forecast of the 2012 election. According to a recent poll from USA Today and Gallup, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are tied in 12 swing states: New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Of the GOP candidates, Obama fares best against Texas Governor Rick Perry in these swing states, winning 49 percent of the vote to Perry’s 44 percent.
Despite the coverage around it, this poll doesn’t actually tell us much new about the landscape for next year’s election. Given the current economy and his approval ratings, Obama has long stood an even chance of losing re-election. If it does anything, this poll just underscores the extent to which he is in a precarious position.
One additional thing: I’m not sure that it makes sense to call Pennsylvania a swing state, given its track record in presidential elections. It has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1992 and supported Obama with 55 percent of the vote in 2008. Talking Points Memo’s Eric Kleefeld gives some additional details: “Over the past 50 years it has only voted Republican in presidential landslides for the GOP: 1972, 1980, 1984, and finally 1988. The last time Pennsylvania voted Republican during a close national race was 1948, when it picked Tom Dewey over the victorious Harry Truman.”
If you keep Pennsylvania in the Democratic column, then Obama’s position for 2012 looks a little better, but not by much.