Josh Kraushaar of National Journal provides a useful survey of swing state polls.
Kraushaar points out that while the national polls are useful in gauging the president’s popularity, the more instructive numbers are those from battleground states. “Those polls are even more ominous for the president,” according to Kraushaar, who cites data from Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan.
Kraushaar goes on to write:
In every reputable battleground state poll conducted over the past month, Obama’s support is weak. In most of them, he trails Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. For all the talk of a closely fought 2012 election, if Obama can’t turn around his fortunes in states such as Michigan and New Hampshire, next year’s presidential election could end up being a GOP landslide.
Kraushaar adds this:
For some time, the conventional wisdom has been that 2012 will be a close presidential contest, with a best-case scenario for Republicans of winning the race with a map similar to George W. Bush’s 2004 victory over Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).
But if the president can’t turn things around, that logic could prove badly outdated. If Obama is struggling in the Democratic-friendly confines of Michigan and Pennsylvania (as recent polls have indicated), it’s hard to see him over-performing again in more-traditional battlegrounds such as Colorado, Nevada and Virginia.
Unless the environment changes significantly, all the money in the president’s reelection coffers won’t be able to expand the map; it can only defend territory that’s being lost. And just as House Democrats played defense to protect the growing number of vulnerable members in last year’s midterms, Obama is looking like he’ll be scrambling to hold onto a lot of the states that he thought would be part of an emerging Democratic majority.
If the election were held today, there’s little question the president would be defeated by a comfortable margin if pitted against a reassuring and reasonable GOP nominee. For that outcome to be averted, the environment does need to change significantly for the better. And right now, there’s no empirical indication that it will.