A Rough State for Obama in 2012?

By Dave Andrusko

Yesterday a friend forwarded me a link to the results of a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP). Although the information turns out to be two weeks old, there’s nothing that occurred since that jumps out at me as a reason to invalidate the premise.

And that premise is, to quote the first two sentences, “Pennsylvania’s looking like it could be a very tough state for Barack Obama in 2012. His approval rating there is only 42% with 52% of voters disapproving of him, and he’s within the margin of error in the state against 3 potential Republican opponents, a far cry from his double digit victory there in 2008” [http://publicpolicypolling.blogspot.com/2011/04/obama-in-dicey-shape-in-pennsylvania.html].

Obama carried the state in 2008 by 10%. The only times Republicans have prevailed in the presidential elections since 1992 was President Bush in 2004. And although there are scenarios in which Obama does not need to carry the Keystone State to be re-elected, it could be very difficult.

Under the headline, “Obama in dicey shape in Pennsylvania,” what do we learn? Overall, “the President’s approval rating is way under water”—as noted above, it’s 42% approving, 52% disapproval.

A solid majority of Independents disapprove –54%–to 39% who, according to PPP, think he’s doing a good job.

More ominously, perhaps, nationally 81% Democrats approve of President Obama, according to PPP’s poll, but only 68% of Democrats in Pennsylvania.

The conclusion PPP draws is that those voters whose first loyalty was to Hillary Clinton in 2008, but who closed  their eyes and voted for Obama, might vote for a Republican for President while voting Democratic for the rest of the ticket.

But conditions may actually be worse for President Obama. One of the people who commented on the post wrote that in 2004, 41% of voters in Pennsylvania were Democrats; in 2008 44%; and in 2010, 40%.

But according to the crosstabs found in the poll that was attached to the story, 51% of the respondents self-identified as Democrats, an oversampling that would tend to minimize the damage.

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