On Monday, a handful of polls came out that showed President Obama in a bad place, with flagging approval ratings and an unhappy public. I argued that those results had more to do with methodology than the actual mood of the public, but the conventional wisdom seems to be that, yes, Obama has a problem.
Unemployment has declined nationwide, but as Reutersreports, the change has been greatest in swing states:
Over the three years Obama has been in office, North Carolina and Florida also hit record high jobless rates, both reaching 11.4 percent two years ago. But in January 2012, North Carolina’s rate was the lowest since April 2009 and Florida’s the lowest since March 2009.
In Colorado, another swing state, the jobless rate climbed to a record 9 percent at the end of 2010. By January, it had fallen to 7.8 percent, the lowest since March 2009.
Ruth Marcus is bored by the 2012 presidential election and wants us to turn our attention to 2016 which, she argues, will be a lot more interesting:
Enough about the 2012 election already. Let’s talk 2016, which promises to be far more interesting — and consequential.
The precise contours of that election, of course, will be shaped by what happens this November. Yet either way, the 2016 campaign will be, much more than 2012, a battle for the ideological soul of one or both parties.
The pre-election polls for the Republican primaries in Alabama and Mississippi showed a close race. Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich were in a near-three-way tie for the first-place spot in both states, with Gingrich edging out his competitors in Mississippi, and Romney taking the slightest of leads in Alabama.
This morning, I argued that President Obama’s poor performance in the New York Times/CBS News poll had more to do with the methodology of the survey than it did with any underlying change in Obama’s standing with the public. The Times oversampled partisan Republicans, and as such, guaranteed a skewed result. For further evidence of Obama’s stability, look no further than a trio of polls released today.
At TheWashington Post, Chris Cillizza suggests that, like the Republican Party, President Obama might have a turnout problem in the fall:
A review of the states that have also held Democratic contests this year shows turnout is down sharply from the last time a Democratic president was running largely unopposed for renomination — 1996.
Democratic turnout is down significantly in five of eight states that held similar contests in 1996 and 2012 (and where data are available), and six of eight overall, compared to Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign.
As of yesterday, the conventional wisdom on President Obama’s decline in the polls was that voters are punishing him for high gasoline prices. And while voters believe that the president has significant influence over the price of gas—which, for the record, isn’t correct—it’s also true that they haven’t left Obama on the issue.
Polling on the president has been a little weird lately. According to yesterday’s The Washington Post/CBS News poll, 46 percent of Americans approve of President Obama’s performance, while 50 percent disapprove. This is on the lower bound of polling for the president, but well within the range we’ve seen over the last several months. Likewise, over the weekend, Gallup found that Obama’s approval rating rose to 49 percent—mostly on the strength of last week’s job report, which saw the economy grow by 227,000 jobs.
That Mitt Romney has a massive war chest is obvious at this point, but on occasion, it still comes as a surprise to see how much he outspends his opponents. This chart from Buzzfeed shows the extent to which Romney has buried his competitors:
To go back to TheWashington Postpoll for a moment, there is a little good news if the Obama administration is still fretting over its handling of the contraception mandate.
By a margin of 61 percent to 35 percent, Americans believe that health insurers should be required to cover the full cost of birth control for women. This even extends to religious-affiliated employers—like hospitals—which were the focal point of the controversy. According to the poll, 79 percent of those who support the birth-control mandate also support it for religious-affiliated employers.
The thing to remember about the Republicans in Deep South states like Alabama and Mississippi is that they are mostly older, lily white, and very conservative. When you combine that with racial stratification and lingering resentment, it’s easy to see how 21 percent of Alabama Republicans and 29 percent of Mississippi Republicans would say that interracial marriage should be illegal, according to the latest poll from Public Policy Polling.