Can you feel the political ground moving? That is the migration of several million working men and women in Middle America changing their political allegiances.
Out With Partisanship and In With Ideology
The Weekly Standard’s Jay Cost recently noted that the American electorate is moving from self-identifying as plurality Democrat to plurality Independent. While the percentage of the electorate self-identifying as Republican remains near its 50-year average of roughly 30%, the voters self-dentifying Democrat has collapsed to from about half the electorate in 1964 to a hair above the GOP levels. Those former Democrats have become Independents. Continue reading
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Most early analyses of the 2012 presidential election are looking at President Barack Obama’s job approval numbers (overall and economic) and his re-elect numbers (whether the voter has decided to vote for him or against him). However, presidential elections are not simple majority votes and are instead decided by a largely winner-take-all system of winning enough states to gain 270 or more electoral votes. Thus, I would like to take an early look at the 2012 electoral college map.
Actually, I would like to concentrate on the battleground states on that map. For this analysis, I see two possible groups of battleground states.
During the debt ceiling negotiations over the past month, both the Democrats and the GOP are keeping one eye towards how their negotiation positions are affecting their chances for reëlection in 2012. Two recent polls may suggest how the debt ceiling negotiations are playing with voters.
Rasmussen is the only pollster still asking the generic Congressional ballot question (i.e., whether likely voters prefer a Democrat or Republican to represent them in Congress). During the debt ceiling negotiations, the GOP advantage rose from three points last month to six points over the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, Gallup recently disclosed that registered voters prefer a generic Republican Presidential candidate to President Obama by a 47% to 39% margin, the largest to date.
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As of July 20, 2011, President Obama’s job approval ratings have tanked in both the Gallup poll of adults (42% approve to 48% disapprove) and the Rasmussen poll of likely voters (44% approve to 54% disapprove). The Gallup result tied a low in approval.
In horse race polling of registered voters, democratic pollster Public Policy Polling found that the undecided actually disapprove of President Obama’s job performance by absolutely massive margins and, if the undecided break for the GOP candidate based on that disapproval, Mitt Romney leads Obama by the same margin George W. Bush won in 2004 and Obama is statistically tied with the other largely unknown GOP field. In an apparent nod to the fact that they were polling registered voters rather than the far more conservative likely voters, PPP admitted: “There’s a very good chance Obama would lose if he had to stand for reëlection today.”
Of course, we are a long way from November, 2012. But using these polls as snapshots of how things stand now, the GOP’s 2012 chances do not appear to be suffering from their demand for spending cuts to match any debt ceiling increase. Rather, Republican steadfastness may be appealing to their center-right voter coalition.
With six months to go before the Iowa Caucus, the GOP may have its first breakout candidate in Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota). In contrast to polling of registered voters, Magellan and TIR recently performed polls of likely GOP Iowa caucus attendees and found that Michele is the belle of this ball.
Magellan performed the most comprehensive polling of 1,024 likely caucus goers with publicly disclosed cross tabs. Continue reading
The GOP’s theme for its 2012 campaign season is unsurprisingly “It’s The Economy, Stupid.” Strategist James Carville coined this phrase, and Bill Clinton won election in 1992 on this theme even though the economy was actually in recovery and growing smartly. The eventual GOP challenger to President Obama has the advantage of observing that the Obama economy is the first post WWII “recovery” with no real economic recovery.
In the following video, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) gives a good summary of what you will be hearing from GOP candidates for President and all the Senate seats up for election in 2012. The source of Sen. DeMint’s data is the Joint Economic Committee report prepared by the committee’s Republican staff.