Survey USA poll in Washington demonstrates Obama weakness in general election

posted at 4:00 pm on February 18, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Republicans have engaged in quite a bit of handwringing over the primary fight this year.  They worry that a passionate debate over principles, plus the perceived weakness of each remaining candidate, will make Barack Obama stronger in the national election.  Those worries might well translate into reality, but my perception is that this is no different than any other cycle with an open primary — no different than, say, 1980 — when Democrats had a weak incumbent and the GOP had several candidates with all sorts of perceived weaknesses in the running, including Ronald Reagan, who was considered early in the cycle to be too conservative (and too old) to appeal to a broad enough swath of voters to prevent a second Jimmy Carter term.

Barack Obama may look strong in contrast to the primary battle taking place, but that won’t last too long.  And as a Survey USA poll of registered voters in one key Democratic state shows, Obama is far from strong at all:

9 months from Election Day, Barack Obama has a net approval rating of Minus 5 in Washington State, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KING-TV Seattle. 42% today approve of the job he is doing as president, 47% disapprove. But: the number of Washington voters who say Obama has been a worse president than they expected is 2.5 times greater than the number who say Obama has been better than they expected. On specific aspects of his administration, Obama is:

Plus 14 on his handling of Iraq.
Minus 1 on his handling of Afghanistan.
Minus 19 on his handling of the economy.
Minus 20 on his handling of health care.
Minus 26 on his handling of the federal deficit.

Obama’s job approval among Democrats and Republicans are perfect mirror images — 85/11 and 11/85, respectively.  Among independents, though, he gets only a 37/47.  Among Hispanics (8% of respondents), Obama gets a 40/24 — a very weak rating — and among Asians and other ethnicities (excluding whites, blacks, and Hispanics) comprising 11% of the respondents, it’s 42/49.  Obama’s approval sinks badly among the age demos most likely to vote: among 50-64YOs, it’s 38/58, and only a little better among seniors, 44/52.  Even among younger voters, Obama’s job approval is only 43/36 for 18-34YOs and 47/42 for 35-49YOs, indicating a significant lack of enthusiasm. Obama gets a weakly positive 46/41 among those earning below $40K, but a 37/52 from those earning above $40K.

Why is this important?  Obama won the state of Washington by seventeen points in 2008, and it is a bastion of Democratic strength and enthusiasm.  Let’s take a look at these same demos in the 2008 exit polls, to the extent they match up:

  • 30-44YOs: Obama won 56/41 (too few 81/29YOs in 2008 to publish results)
  • 50-64YOs: Obama won 60/38
  • Voters who say economy was biggest issue (60% in 2008): Obama won 58/40
  • Independents: Obama won 55/39
  • Earn below $50K (35% of vote): Obama won 64/33
  • Earn above $50K (65% of vote): Obama won 55/43

Those numbers indicated a much higher degree of enthusiasm, perhaps because Obama provided a blank slate instead of a record.  Now that he has a record on which to run, the enthusiasm even in a Democratic bastion like Washington has entirely dissipated.  That doesn’t mean Obama will necessarily lose the state in the fall, as that depends on the Republican candidate and the economy, and Washington will be a difficult state for Republicans to win anyway.  But if Obama is at a -19 on the economy, a -20 on health care, and a -26 on the deficit in such a safe Democratic state like Washington, how well do people think he’s playing in swing states in the Rust Belt and the Midwest, where Republicans are more competitive?

It’s far too early for pessimism, as I told Dave Weigel yesterday, and Republicans need to have more faith in their agenda.

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Ed is desperately looking for any negative polling on Obama. Hang in there buddy, this is gonna be a very bumpy ride for the GOP.

Salahuddin on February 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM

The sad thing is that you don’t realize it’s going to be a bumpy ride for all of us if your communist buddy gets re-elected. You need to remember that the people who have been paying the bills will last longer than you leeches. We’ll still have our income to fall back on for a little while.

Night Owl on February 18, 2012 at 6:36 PM

This is a shocking poll. Was Seattle having a Gay Pride parade while Survey USA was calling?

WannabeAnglican on February 18, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Keep hope alive Ed, moron!


residentblue on February 18, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Poor residentblue !…thinks LOL stands for Lobotomy ON LINE!

KOOLAID2 on February 18, 2012 at 6:49 PM

KOOLAID2 on February 18, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Think it will be back ?

Bmore on February 18, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Bmore on February 18, 2012 at 6:55 PM


KOOLAID2 on February 18, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Santorum reportedly calls into question Obama’s Christian faith.
In other words, “Where’s the baptismal certificate?”

Emperor Norton on February 18, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Paging Donald Trump!…Paging Donald Trump! Please pick up the phone in the lobby at the check in desk!

KOOLAID2 on February 18, 2012 at 7:15 PM

I really hope you are right

Schadenfreude on February 18, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Sherman1864 on February 18, 2012 at 7:34 PM

We had a Democratic Congress from 2007, both Houses, they lost it in 2010 but kept the Senate and we still have a mess with the owners of our Country’s check book. No budget for over a thousand days and a debt in the trillions. Why vote, they are deaf and dumb, a double standard that they deny exists, and they are giving themselves raises and talking about cutting the be SS while the staff of Congress is over ten thousand and two thousand of them exceed $174,000 salary a year. We have a man that’s not right in the White House and Congress who is 1/3 of our government does nothing. I probably won’t vote this time for the first time in over fifty years.

mixplix on February 18, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Keep hope alive Ed, moron!
residentblue on February 18, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Sorry! There is no hope for talking head Ed Shultz! That “Ed”, correct?

Sherman1864 on February 18, 2012 at 7:37 PM

The poll would be more interesting if it had some connection to the results expected in Washington State. Everyone knows Obama is weak. The problem is that this party is destroying itself while trying to pick a candidate. Many of the problems rest with the people here who would rather pick apart the candidates than pick apart the President. Right now, the son of the Secretary of Transportation is being held hostage in Egypt. I don’t know any other way to phrase it. Where is the outrage around here and in other conservative venues? It should be a big issue.

jake22 on February 18, 2012 at 8:14 PM

He is going to lose.

The only question we need to be asking, is who is ready to lead?


Key West Reader on February 18, 2012 at 8:20 PM

The big problem is that the Republicans have basically the same agenda the Democrats do, viz., increased government spending and regulation.

And that’s an agenda nobody should have any faith in whatsoever. The Republicans and Democrats have an agenda that is disastrous for America.

Steve Stoddard on February 18, 2012 at 6:35 PM

This. ^^^

PatriotGal2257 on February 18, 2012 at 8:57 PM

Republicans need to have more faith in their agenda.

We have an agenda? Funny, none of our primary candidates seem to be articulating it very well. You must have mistaken us for another political party, one that keeps its eyes on the prize.

troyriser_gopftw on February 18, 2012 at 11:11 PM

Ed is desperately looking for any negative polling on Obama. Hang in there buddy, this is gonna be a very bumpy ride for the GOP.

Salahuddin on February 18, 2012 at 4:11 PM
I tell ya… LOL Hotgas is badnews central

I read the other day that Detroit Auto makers are making record profits. I was foolishly expecting to read that here… oh man.

residentblue on February 18, 2012 at 4:14 PM

GM sales down 6% in January. GM China sales down even more.

GM stock price has decreased more than 30% over the last year.

Part of the reason that GM profits were up was due to the misfortune that hit Japan over the past year.

Competition is going to be tougher this year.

Dreadnought on February 18, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Yahoo News is carrying a “comment” by Santorum (you know he or his supporters say something “extreme” everyday). In this latest “storm” / “controversy” Santorum reportedly calls into question Obama’s Christian faith.

We can’t even imagine what would have happened if Palin had been the frontrunner at this point.

PappyD61 on February 18, 2012 at 4:23 PM

WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Don’t question a Leftist’s patriotism; don’t question the depth of a Leftist’s religious conviction – what is it about being questioned like that that infuriates those on the Left so much? Why do they get soooooooo defensive, hmmmmm? Think a Leftie will, or even could if s/he wanted to, tell us the answer to that? LOL

Christians are taught that you can judge a tree by it’s fruit, that the fruits of the Spirit include love (of which patience, kindness, and lack of arrogance are components), joy, peace, and self-control, and that they should judge others inside the Church.

I not only question 0bamessiah’s sincerity about His supposed Christian faith, I disbelieve it – His opposition to the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act, & His subsequent accusation that those who criticized Him about it were lying cause me to do that, and that’s just one issue out of a near-infinite number of them.

When has 0bamessiah demonstrated any of those Spiritual qualities I mentioned, let alone demonstrated them on a consistent basis? When He was once again blaming/attacking/demonizing Republicans whenever they weren’t in agreement with Him? When He was telling Latinos who were politically allied with Him to “punish our enemies”? When He was telling His Democrat minions, “I want you to argue with them and get in their face”, in reference to independents and Republicans? What a community organizer He is!

Want to know why so many of us on the Right refer to 0bamessiah as some kind of messiah? This may be part of the explaination – 0bamessiah talking about sin, in 2004:

Cathleen Falsini: Do you believe in sin?

0bamessiah: Yes.

CF: What is sin?

0: Being out of alignment with my values.

“sin” is being out of alignment with one’s own values, not God’s? What Christian denomination has anyone ever heard teach that?

0bamessiah heads His own denomination; 0bamessiah is as much of a real Christian as His hateful Rev. Wright is.

Bizarro No. 1 on February 19, 2012 at 1:12 AM

IA polls shows the same weaknesses. Obama is losing to both Santorum and Romney in match-ups.

writeblock on February 19, 2012 at 6:47 AM

Maybe people are waking up to the fact that they and their children are becoming slaves to the govt and the debt that is being created by this regime. If some think the war on drugs is lost, this one is too.

Kissmygrits on February 19, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Maybe people are waking up to the fact that they and their children are becoming slaves to the govt and the debt that is being created by this regime.

Kissmygrits on February 19, 2012 at 9:31 AM

That more people are asking questions about Obama and his merry band of socialist progressives is a good sign. That institutions like the Church are pushing back is VERY encouraging.

Wait until SCOTUS tears into Obamacare, while Republicans impeach Holder.

Roy Rogers on February 19, 2012 at 9:36 AM

Obama keeps finding it harder to hide his “Muslim faith”. Personally, I have more respect for the muzzies who wear bomb vests. At least they are willing to give up their own lives for their stupid, evil cult. Obama will only give up your life and freedoms.

swinia sutki on February 19, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Well, my two cents = I think that Romney and Gingrich can beat 0bama, and Santorum and Paul can’t.

The reasons?

First, those who can:

Romney is slick enough, has business sense, looks like a president, and comes across to the unlearned as reasonable and stable. Rich? Yes. But that also does speak to his success. Romney has a reputation as a moderate, and that will make wavering 0bama voters feel better about changing horses. He’s also a pretty good debater. Not great, but… pretty good.

Gingrich is smart, a deft debater who can debate his way out of a corner pretty effectively a high percentage of the time – and so is not likely to be embarrassed in front of the nation in a presidential debate. Gingrich also has a demonstrable record of conservative economic accomplishment. The knocks on him such as the Pelosi/sofa incident are inside-baseball minutiae that do not register with the average underattentive voter. Also, Gingrich’s lack of sanctimony on the moral plane makes it harder for corrupt Hollyweird and the LSM to lay a glove on him. He’s been vetted pretty thoroughly, as well. I think he still has a lot of potential upside as more people hear him debate, and has the potential for an early TKO in the presidential debate(s).

Those who can’t:

Paul’s voice, alone, is enough to lose the election when the uneducated electorate at large gets a good look at him in querulous old-man-whiny mode. His extremist foreign policy is a large negative. His extremist financial policies will scare the hell out of the establishment money. Plus he’s way too old. Who would his VP be? Because 50/50, under the stress that the presidency places upon all men, that VP will be president before the end of Paul’s term. Despite his apparent good health, heart attacks happen to even the healthiest runners.

Santorum not only has way too much quotable, incendiary print and video on social issues, but he also plays right into the amoral wheelhouse of the Hollywood/MSM edifice. He has yet to be fully exposed and vetted, and his record, from his fiscal profligacy to his moralizing from the stump, to his unethical (I believe) handling of his kids’ school tuition, Santorum will float higher in the polls until people get a real good look at him. And then he will be like an 86-mph fastball from 43-year-old Bert Blyleven to McGwire at his most juiced. Santorum will be Church-Ladied, Dana-Carveyed, and Late-Nighted to death. He will be painted as such a sanctimonious clown, that 0bama will squeak by – and complete his destruction.

I know plenty of you will disagree with me.

But what I have just written is not cant – not intellectually dishonest shilling – it’s my honest, considred opinion on where we stand currently.

I still think that to beat 0bama it’s Romney or/and Newt – likely as Pres and VP, in some order. Together, there’s a lot of gravitas in that ticket, and I am very, very confident that those two on the same ticket WILL retire 0bama.

cane_loader on February 19, 2012 at 1:13 PM

It’s possible that nobody would be able to lose to Obama, since Obama is so really, really terrible.

The problem is that nobody in contention to run against him is significantly better in any essential way. We would just be jumping out of the fire into the frying pan . . . .

Steve Stoddard on February 19, 2012 at 7:18 PM