The White House has been pointing recently to a mildly positive trend in polling on Barack Obama’s job-approval numbers, provided mainly by media polling. Rasmussen’s poll also shows Obama’s numbers stabilizing, although at a below-50% level (currently at 46%). The national numbers won’t matter nearly as much as the state numbers in the upcoming midterms, though, and Real Clear Politics notices that battleground states have bad news for Obama and the Democrats:
But a look at Obama’s numbers on a state-by-state basis reflects the party’s precarious state in the midst of a critical string of primaries and special elections. RCP compiled state-specific public polling over the past three months, and found Obama’s net job approval rating is in negative territory in 28 of the 44 states where figures are available, including nearly all the battleground states critical to his and the Democrats’ future success.
In Florida, the president’s net approval rating is -1.7; in Colorado, it’s -6.5; North Carolina, -2.7; Ohio, -7.8; Nevada, -5.0; and Pennsylvania, it’s -3.0. These six states all feature critical Senate contests this year, with the Keystone State also home to a potential bellwether special Congressional race next Tuesday. And five of the six were red states that flipped into the Democratic column in the 2008 presidential election.
Obama’s position is far worse in several other 2008 battlegrounds, as well as red states where Democrats are struggling to hold seats this fall. In Arkansas, where Sen. Blanche Lincoln trails all potential Republican opponents, Obama’s net approval rating is -28. In Indiana, a state Obama won, his rating is -13. And Missouri, which he narrowly lost and hosts an open Senate race Democrats had thought was a prime pickup opportunity, his rating is -11.5.
Keep this in mind when Barack Obama hits the campaign trail over the summer to help bolster Democrats in the midterms. The White House insists that it has been campaigning, but only on safe ground. For instance, Obama did a fundraiser for Barbara Boxer, who can’t get out of the 40s in polling support despite the fact that Obama’s numbers look good in California (+16.8). Obama also did a fundraiser for the DCCC last night in New York, where he has a +15 favorability.
Going to deep blue states will be a given. Will he show up in Arkansas? In Colorado, the state where Obama accepted the Democratic nomination? In Pennsylvania, where Obama has already campaigned for Arlen Specter, his presence will likely help Pat Toomey, especially if Obama appears with the deeply unpopular Ed Rendell.
More importantly, Obama can’t win a second term with this slate of numbers in battleground states. He won every one of the listed states where he’s gone underwater. He could lose Colorado and North Carolina and still be relatively safe, but losing Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida would mean a single term in office. Even winning California and New York won’t make up for the loss of 28 states in 2012.