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Obama’s Poll Numbers In 15 Battleground States

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First, allow me to list the states that I believe will be the most competitive in the 2012 presidential election: Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

A case could be made for including states like Oregon, Arizona, Mississippi, and Georgia on my list of “battleground” states. However, I suspect the first one will stay safely blue, and the remaining three will stay safely red.

So. Using the admittedly somewhat outdated information found here, let’s take a look at the president’s approval numbers in the 15 states I believe are the most competitive:

Nevada – 44 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 55 percent)
Colorado – 44 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 54 percent)
New Mexico – 46 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 57 percent)
Minnesota – 52 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 54 percent)
Iowa – 49 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 54 percent)
Missouri – 42 percent (went for McCain in 2008 with 49 percent)
Wisconsin – 50 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 56 percent)

Michigan – 50 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 57 percent)
Indiana – 42 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 50 percent)
Ohio – 45 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 52 percent)
Pennsylvania – 48 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 54 percent)
New Hampshire – 40 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 54 percent)
Virginia – 46 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 53 percent)
North Carolina – 46 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 50 percent)
Florida – 47 percent (went for Obama in 2008 with 51 percent)

There are a few things I noticed about the above data. First, 14 of the 15 battleground states went for Obama in 2008. So he is essentially on defense in those states. The one state McCain won in 2008 that I consider to be competitive in 2012 is Missouri, where the president’s poll numbers now stand in the low 40s.

Next, in every single one of the 15 states listed above, President Obama’s approval ratings according to Gallup are lower than the percentage of the vote he received in 2008. He has seen double-digit declines in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and New Hampshire. So he has seen his support collapse in all three battleground states that are located west of the Mississippi River as well as the lone battleground state in New England. His support is down just two points in Minnesota and only four points in both North Carolina and Florida. The remaining eight states have all seen declines of between five and eight percent.

Finally, Obama won 28 states and 365 Electoral College votes in 2008. Assuming the Republican nominee won each of these battleground states, Obama would win just 14 states and 186 Electoral College votes while his Republican opponent would win 352. So even if every one of the competitive states goes red in 2012, the GOP landslide would not be as large as the landslide Obama won in 2008. Interesting.

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About RJ

  • Baronius

    Interesting. I was just fooling around with the numbers on 270towin.com.

  • Yeah, that’s a useful website.

  • Baronius

    Only if “useful” means that I can play on it for hours and not get anything done, which is the exact opposite of what “useful” means, really.

  • In looking at some news stories, perhaps Oregon really is a swing state…difficult to imagine, tho…

  • Not all that surprising, really. Oregon is mostly rural, so with the exceptions of Portland, Salem and Eugene (both college towns) it leans naturally conservative.

  • Sure, but more than half the state’s residents live in metro Portland, which is a left-wing city.

    Maybe suburban Portland is turning right?

  • Portland is fairly genteel as hippie cities go. (If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a visit. Great beer and food.) And metro areas aren’t uniformly left-wing any more than every country dweller is a conservative.

    A bigger head-scratcher for me is Washington, which is far more urbanized but routinely hums and hahs over whether to send donkeys or elephants to its namesake.

  • Baronius

    A lot more humming Democratic than hahhing Republican, but the races are awfully tight. Maybe because Seattle has a smaller population of hippies and a larger population of newly old money than Portland.

  • Cannonshop

    Polls at this stage don’t mean anything-especially for a National contest that is in temporary hiatus. (Politicians NEVER stop running for office, they just take a short break on non-election years).

    Prediction: Washington State: all electoral votes will go to the Democratic Nominee (Barack Obama) regardless. we regularly pass initiatives that are struck down by the same people we regularly elect to the Legislature-sometimes in the same year, and the odds of anyone NOT a Democrat winning a state-wide (as opposed to local/district) election are about the same as the odds of an ice-sculpture surviving 20 minutes at ground zero of a nuclear blast.

    Seattle and Tacoma will go Democrat, and that’ll carry the rest of the state.