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Re: Ohio’s Ominous Political Storm Clouds

Pete, your take on Obama’s diving poll numbers (with a useful reminder that such trends may reverse themselves) is borne out by additional poll numbers. First, in my home state of Virginia, where Obama became the first winning Democratic presidential candidate since LBJ, Public Policy Polling reports that at least among likely voters in this year’s gubernatorial race:

A day after Quinnipiac found Barack Obama’s approval rating in Ohio at 49%, we find it at 48% in Virginia.

The caveat here is that we are measuring his numbers among likely general election voters for this year- in the context of the race for Governor- rather than all registered voters or likely voters for a Presidential election. . . .Taking that into consideration, the numbers still aren’t real good. They show a high level of polarization we find in every state- 95% of Democrats but only 9% of Republicans giving him good marks. But he’s also doing pretty poorly with independents, as only 38% say he’s doing well and 52% disapprove.

In the short run, this may spell trouble for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, who can’t rely on Obama to win over independents. (Remember the trend in Virginia: for eight consecutive elections since 1977 the party which lost the White House won the gubernatorial race the following year.) As Larry J. Sabato wrote last month: “If Obama’s popularity goes south, then Virginians may send the usual off-year message of  ‘change and balance’ by voting Republican.”

In the longer term, this re-enforces the perception that swing voters and states that bought into Obama’s moderate campaign rhetoric and wanted desperately to throw out the party of George W. Bush, don’t like what they are now seeing.

And then there are the national polling trends. Obama’s approval rating in Gallup has dropped to 56%. His poll average in Pollster.com is down to 55.1% and his disapproval rating now averages 38.7%. The two trend lines are narrowing — dramatically.

Much of the problem seems to be with Independents, as Politico reports:

In a potentially alarming trend for the White House, independent voters are deserting President Barack Obama nationally and especially in key swing states, recent polls suggest.

Obama’s job approval rating hit a — still healthy — low of 56 percent in the Gallup Poll on Wednesday. And pollsters are debating whether Obama’s expansive and expensive policy proposals or the ground-level realities of a still-faltering economy are driving the falling numbers.

But a source of the shift appears to be independent voters, who seem to be responding to Republican complaints of excessive spending and government control

Obama may be an attractive figure who provided many voters with a chance to feel good about themselves in a historic election. But more and more Americans don’t feel so good about the economy, for which he will inevitably be held responsible. And they may feel equally put off by the gap between his campaign rhetoric and his governing philosophy. I suspect a significant portion of the 53% of the electorate that supported him did not vote for massive deficits, higher taxes, enormous expansion of government, and the take-over of two car companies. But that is what they got. And at least for now, more and more voters are telling pollsters they don’t like what they see.



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