Gallup swing state poll shows virtual tie, only 40% better off than in 2008

posted at 11:21 am on August 20, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Can an incumbent win a second term as President if the majority think their lives haven’t improved in his first term?  Barack Obama is about to find out the answer to that question.  While the race remains a virtual dead heat in swing states polled by USA Today and Gallup, the verdict on his first term looks pretty solid — a good, solid D-minus at best:

Barack Obama, who made history when he was elected president four years ago, would make a different kind of history if he wins re-election in November: The first incumbent in at least a generation to claim a second term when most Americans say they aren’t better off than they were when he moved into the Oval Office.

In USA TODAY/Gallup survey nationwide and in the 12 top battleground states, most voters say the situation for them and their families hasn’t improved over the past four years, the first time that has happened since Ronald Reagan famously posed the question in his debate with President Carter in 1980 — a contest Carter lost.

Even so, President Obama, who in 2008 became the first African-American elected president, maintains a lead over challenger Mitt Romney in the battleground states likely to decide the election, 47%-44%. That’s better than his standing in the non-battleground states, where Romney leads 47%-45%.

Despite airing millions of dollars in TV ads and taking a high-profile trip abroad, Romney has failed to budge in the swing states, stuck at 44% or 45% since April. In that time, Obama has maintained a steady 47% despite a string of disappointing monthly jobs reports and an 8.3% unemployment rate.

That’s certainly one way to look at it.  The other way: Despite having a 3-1 spending advantage in swing states and the power of the incumbency, Barack Obama has been unable to break out of a margin-of-error tie with Romney for three months.  The incumbent also can’t get above 47%, which is well below the re-elect number an incumbent needs, especially this far out from the election.

Gallup has its own analysis of swing-state sentiment on the results of Obama’s three-plus years in office:

A majority of voters in key 2012 election swing states say they are not better off than they were four years ago; 40% say they are better off. Swing-state voters’ assessments of their situation compared with 2008 have varied little since last fall. …

The fact that the majority of voters in the crucial states that will decide the election believe they are not better off is a challenge for the Obama campaign. That includes 50% of independent voters in the swing states, in addition to 36% of Democrats and 84% of Republicans saying they are not better off.

The only saving grace is that most voters don’t blame Obama, Gallup says.  But that’s not much comfort once one looks at the breakdown:

One key in determining how big a threat the lack of improvement in voters’ lives is to Obama’s re-election chances is whether they blame him for their situation. The poll finds that voters do not widely blame Obama for their circumstances. Twenty percent of swing-state voters say they are not better off and blame Obama alone. Another 15% are not better off and blame Obama but also blame George W. Bush. And 21% do not blame Obama, including 7% who believe Bush alone is responsible.

Nearly three times as many voters blame Obama alone as Bush alone (20/7), and another 15% blame both of them together.  That’s 35% of all voters (not 35% of the 56%) who blame Obama in whole or in part for their lack of progress, as opposed to 14% who don’t blame anyone for it.  More than one-third of the electorate lays this in whole or in part at Obama’s feet.  That’s not exactly good news, although the question would then become how many of those voters are already voting for Romney, and how many still have to make up their minds.

In another data point that makes the above perhaps even worse, 52% of the respondents think that Obama has not done as well as could be expected — and 28% of those think they’re better off than they were four years ago.  That suggests that even the 40% number might be soft support for Obama, and that these figures may be even worse news than they look on their face.

Overall, though, these polls show that Obama has stalled out despite outspending his rival, even in the swing states.  In two weeks, Romney gets to put his money advantage to work in these same states, and this shows that a majority of voters are willing to look at a Plan B.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Oh yeah, I’m better off. NOT!

LeftCoastRight on August 20, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Much emphasis has been placed on the fact that Obama isn’t ahead (much or at all) in the crucial swing states even though he’s been able to outspend Romney by large margins thus far.

I’m hoping that when Romney gets freed up to spend more freely after the convention, it makes the difference many imply it should.

Anybody have any soothing words of comfort for someone who is still smarting from the fact that Americans would actually elect Bill Clinton in the first place?

toenail on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

I would love to see what the 40% look like. Are there that many people that depend on the government?

It is simply a fact that it is harder to get a job now, and the ones out there pay less. Especially if you are a young person. And it is a fact that household wealth has gone down, and everything has become more expensive.

Romney needs to hammer Obama non-stop on this point.

milcus on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

In USA TODAY/Gallup survey nationwide and in the 12 top battleground states, most voters say the situation for them and their families hasn’t improved over the past four years,

Not only has it ‘not improved‘, but it has ‘worsened significantly.’

/directions.

ted c on August 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM

…Tied!…Tied?…most people must really get their news from Entertainment Tonight!

KOOLAID2 on August 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM

And 21% do not blame Obama, including 7% who believe Bush alone is responsible.

This represents the amoeba cross-section of the electorate.

Bitter Clinger on August 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Overall, though, these polls show that Obama has stalled out despite outspending his rival, even in the swing states.

Ed used ‘stasis‘, a term generally reserved for flow, particularly bloodflow in the sub headline. I would think that ‘hemorrhage‘ would probably be an appropriate term to use soon with regards to swing voters, donation, and Obama support.

ted c on August 20, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but once we’re through the conventions, kids are back in school, and fall is under way, I think Americans are going to sit down and size up Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan and decide that the affirmative-action experiment needs to end.

Just say “no” to white guilt.

Look, if Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Allen West, or some other conservative black were running for president, I’d be the first to vote for them. But Obama is an un-American, leftist hack who has to go.

BuckeyeSam on August 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

If Romney wants to clinch this thing, for his final remarks at the debate he should say: “Obama said he would have this fixed or it would be a one-term proposition yet is still asking for your vote. If I cannot improve the economic circumstances for the majority of Americans in my first time, I will not seek reelection.”

The Count on August 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

I would love to see what the 40% look like. Are there that many people that depend on the government?

milcus on August 20, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Food stamps are a wonderful thing to some.

Bitter Clinger on August 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Oh yeah, I’m better off. NOT!

LeftCoastRight on August 20, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Whoa! Glad I didn’t stop reading at the first sentence. ;-)

Chuck Schick on August 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Stats and information like this are pretty scary, lends a bit more credence to them stealing the election as they’ll already have the public believing it’s all tied up. Damn the media.

ahlaphus on August 20, 2012 at 11:33 AM

40% better off than in 2008

Must be government workers.

tims472 on August 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Wonder how much Obama spent in July to reach this optimal “got ‘em where want ‘em” point in the campaign?

FEC monthly campaign reports for July due today from the presidential campaign committees. Ron Paul’s is up already.

de rigueur on August 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

ted c on August 20, 2012 at 11:29 AM

unemployed
underempolyed
under water
stagnant wages
wage-cuts
reduced hours
reduced benefits
pain at the pump
higher taxes
soaring health care costs
increasing food prices

We didn’t just take a hit, we’re under fire with no end in sight.

Laura in Maryland on August 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Must be government workers.

tims472 on August 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

and other non-working teat feeders.

Laura in Maryland on August 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

In two weeks, Romney gets to put his money advantage to work in these same states, and this shows that a majority of voters are willing to look at a Plan B.

posted at 11:21 am on August 20, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

On Economy, 45% Trust Republicans, 40% Democrats

sublibertate on August 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Obama: Change from BAD to WORSE is not the Change America hoped for. Pack your trash – you’re fired.

Roy Rogers on August 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM

40% say they are better off. Swing-state voters’ assessments of their situation compared with 2008 have varied little since last fall. …

40% of American’s like paying $4 bucks for a gallon of gas.

Who knew?

JPeterman on August 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM

That 40% that is better off, are receiving more government benefits than in 2008.

portlandon on August 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM

In two weeks, Romney gets to put his money advantage to work in these same states, and this shows that a majority of voters are willing to look at a Plan B.

Or maybe a Plan R, as in Romney and Ryan.

Steve Z on August 20, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Anyone listening to the R/R rally in New Hampshire?

They’re doing a great job especially with the Q&A – straight answers, good explanations, mapping out the plan for economic recovery and incorporating BO’s failures into the responses.

Oooohhhh…. Mitt just said that throwing Bibi under the bus was unforgivable.

Cody1991 on August 20, 2012 at 11:43 AM

It’s not going to be a tie in November because Romney is going to get his azz handed to him by Obama all because of people like most of the ones on HotAir accepting this liberal Romney and Ryan. What a joke they are.

air_up_there on August 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

How’s that lady doin’ that needed a kitchen and ol’ Jose Ozquierda from Florida that thanked Obama for takin’ time outta his day to come listen to his gasping rant on his Mickey D’s job????

ted c on August 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

If they’re tied now, Romney wins.

However, polls don’t mean much this year. People lie to the pollsters like they never did before, for protection.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

I’ll be surprised if he pulls 70% of Eric Holder’s people this year…..

/couches, hardest hit.

ted c on August 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Despite airing millions of dollars in TV ads and taking a high-profile trip abroad, Romney has failed to budge in the swing states, stuck at 44% or 45% since April. In that time, Obama has maintained a steady 47% despite a string of disappointing monthly jobs reports and an 8.3% unemployment rate.

LOL… It is simply amazing how the f***ing liberal media lies all the time and says the opposite of what is happening. The truth that every one under the sun knows it is that it is Obama who has spend almost 200 million dollars in the swing states in negative attacks ads and lies against Romney but yet he is still tied with him i.e. Obama lies and attacks ads went to nowhere…

mnjg on August 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

“Are you better off than you were four years ago?” is what this whole campaign is about. This is what wins the election.

And most everybody isn’t. Which is why the Obama campaign is an endless series of SQUIRREL!

It’s all they’ve got. SQUIRREL! RAAAAACIST! WAR ON WIMMIN!

Obama has nothing else.

wildcat72 on August 20, 2012 at 11:49 AM

If they’re tied now, Romney wins.

However, polls don’t mean much this year. People lie to the pollsters like they never did before, for protection.

Schadenfreude on August 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

I’d lie to pollsters too, if I lived in certain parts of the country.
Obama is a Chicago gang thug, after all.

wildcat72 on August 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

I’d lie to pollsters too, if I lived in certain parts of the country.
Obama is a Chicago gang thug, after all.

wildcat72 on August 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

who put out a handy app so you know where non-dems are off your android and google maps IIRC

harlekwin15 on August 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Virtually no one is better off since Barry took office, and many, if not most, voters know the fiscal prognosis is much worse if he’s elected to a second term.

For most of the electorate, this election season hasn’t even started yet. The season kicks off with the conventions and the debates. Until then, Barry and the gang won’t muster anything but water-tread numbers in the polls. The survey respondents may not blame Barry for the fiscal mess now because his it’s Bush and Congress’s fault mantra has stuck with them. When the convention rolls around and debates commence, Barry’s record will be inescapable. Voters will see him and what he’s done to eviscerate any chance of our climbing out of this economic cesspool, and then I pray, they’ll finally connect the dots.

Slainte on August 20, 2012 at 11:53 AM

It’s not going to be a tie in November because Romney is going to get his azz handed to him by Obama all because of people like most of the ones on HotAir accepting this liberal Romney and Ryan. What a joke they are.
air_up_there on August 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

What?

jawkneemusic on August 20, 2012 at 11:57 AM

I can’t find it anywhere….is this registered or likely?

ChrisL on August 20, 2012 at 11:59 AM

In two weeks, Romney gets to put his money advantage to work in these same states, and this shows that a majority of voters are willing to look at a Plan B.

Four words- Carpet Bomb The Airwaves.

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM

We didn’t just take a hit, we’re under fire with no end in sight.

Laura in Maryland on August 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

November, then January.

air_up_there on August 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

There is no air up there. Come down to earth for some oxygen. It may not be too late for you.

cozmo on August 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Polls, shmoles…… 40% nope

who cares, and are we asking to compare to the First half of 2008 or the Second, crashing, half. It was 2 different years in 2008.

Stay Focused:
Contraception
War on Women
Gay Marriage
Slavery
Ending Medicare
Ryan’s Catholicism

This is how we can fight the leftists. /

FlaMurph on August 20, 2012 at 12:02 PM

This poll is of registered voters. Many of them don’t vote. Look for polls of likely voters; they are much more reliable.

JayDick on August 20, 2012 at 12:03 PM

It must be nice to be a liberal. Dem Congressmen and women intefere in the economy, cause it to tank, and then when their guy wins the White House, people blame the previous president and GOP.

Proof the libs deliberately destroyed critical thinking skills in our schools.

Air_up_There seems to be suffering from oxygen deprivation.

Hard Right on August 20, 2012 at 12:04 PM

This poll is of registered voters. Many of them don’t vote. Look for polls of likely voters; they are much more reliable.

JayDick

Then why the h*ll is this even on the site? They might as well have asked mimes what they thought!GRRRRRRR!

Hard Right on August 20, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Another 15% are not better off and blame Obama but also blame George W. Bush. And 21% do not blame Obama, including 7% who believe Bush alone is responsible.

No doubt friends of Peggy Joseph.

GrannyDee on August 20, 2012 at 12:13 PM

LOL… It is simply amazing how the f***ing liberal media lies all the time and says the opposite of what is happening. The truth that every one under the sun knows it is that it is Obama who has spend almost 200 million dollars in the swing states in negative attacks ads and lies against Romney but yet he is still tied with him i.e. Obama lies and attacks ads went to nowhere…

mnjg on August 20, 2012 at 11:47 AM

..this sort of thing occurs elsewhere — check out Wallace’s show on Fox News this Sunday with Rove, Kristol, Trippi, and Evan Bayh. They all maintained that Obama was perilously close to winning because Rove had him at 260 EVs. Of course, he said that the support was eroding for Obama as several states had been flipped to toss-up or leaning R&R.

I think Obama’s support is a mile wide and an inch deep.

Personally, I think these are the nascent steps of some sort of ju-jitsu to keep Cousin Pookie on the couch. I don’t mean Rove or the over-sampling D+9 skews, but in general. If the Dems are continually fed this narcotic, then they will remain somnolent through 6 November.

..now let me adjust the headband on my aluminum foil hat.

The War Planner on August 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Overall, though, these polls show that Obama has stalled out despite outspending his rival, even in the swing states. In two weeks, Romney gets to put his money advantage to work in these same states, and this shows that a majority of voters are willing to look at a Plan B.

Assuming that this poll is of “registered” and not “likely” voters, and assuming the usual heavy D weighting in the D/R/I, this is fantastic news. When an incumbent can’t break 50 less than 3 months away, he is toast.

And, coupling that with Romney being outspent so substantially and Romney’s own campaign money being on hold in large part until after the convention, it’s no wonder that we’re seeing stories about the chaos and indecision in the Obama campaign. Good days are coming, good days are coming.

TXUS on August 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Hmm, this poll confirms that USAToday/Gallop has a significant leftward tilt over JUST gallop. I mean, come on, there’s no way Obama is winning by 2% in battlegrounds while losing 2% nationally.

If that happened on election day, it’d be potentially civil war inducing. I mean, you thought 2000 was bad when less than half a percent separated the two candidates nationally. Such a measurable disparity between will and outcome would be far far worse.

WolvenOne on August 20, 2012 at 12:21 PM

These numbers need to start moving Romneys way soon. I fear that if they dont, hes not gonna be able to pull ahead by the time we have the convention.

Jack_Burton on August 20, 2012 at 12:21 PM

Just say “no” to white guilt.
BuckeyeSam on August 20, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Obama was the first candidate to win the Presidency w/o majority of the white vote. Majority of the white people didn’t vote for him the first time and he still won. A whopping 10% of the people who voted against Obama in 2008 admitted they didn’t want to vote for a black man, and those are the ones who had the guts to admit their racism.

Only a racist would think that a black man cannot earn the support of the white people through his/her own individual merits.

Salahuddin on August 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Only a racist would think that a black man cannot earn the support of the white people through his/her own individual merits.

Salahuddin on August 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Only a racist would see the color of a man’s skin before all else. The fact of the matter is that in 2008, the filthy jug-eared Kenyan had done nothing to earn my vote. He clearly was not experienced enough for the Presidency and yet he got elected by the racists of the left made the bastard’s skin color more important than the fact that he was unfit for the job.

In 2012, Obama will not be getting my vote for much the same reasons. He’s been a miserable President, he lies, he is arrogant, he is incompetent, he is corrupt, he is partisan, he is a socialist, he is a vile evil human being. That goes for both his white and black sides.

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Only a racist would think that a black man cannot earn the support of the white people through his/her own individual merits.

Salahuddin on August 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Only a racist would see the color of a man’s skin before all else. The fact of the matter is that in 2008, the filthy jug-eared Kenyan had done nothing to earn my vote. He clearly was not experienced enough for the Presidency and yet he got elected by the racists of the left made the bastard’s skin color more important than the fact that he was unfit for the job.

In 2012, Obama will not be getting my vote for much the same reasons. He’s been a miserable President, he lies, he is arrogant, he is incompetent, he is corrupt, he is partisan, he is a socialist, he is a vile evil human being. That goes for both his white and black sides.

Happy Nomad on August 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM

TY, Happy. +1000.

GrannyDee on August 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM

40% of American’s like paying $4 bucks for a gallon of gas.

Who knew?

JPeterman on August 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Those people would vote for the Devil if he is a democrat… so of course they are going to say that they are better off than 4 years ago to make Obama looks good…

mnjg on August 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM

think Obama’s support is a mile wide and an inch deep.

The War Planner on August 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I totally agree…

mnjg on August 20, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Obama was the first candidate to win the Presidency w/o majority of the white vote. Majority of the white people didn’t vote for him the first time and he still won. A whopping 10% of the people who voted against Obama in 2008 admitted they didn’t want to vote for a black man, and those are the ones who had the guts to admit their racism.

Only a racist would think that a black man cannot earn the support of the white people through his/her own individual merits.

Salahuddin on August 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Obama was not the first candidate to win the Presidency without the majority of white voters support. In fact if you do a quick internet search you will find that Bill Clinton only won 39% of white voters support in 1992 and 43% of White voters support in 1996… So your facts are wrong.

The real racists in our country are liberals, mostly white liberals, who have destroyed the black society on every level and have made a large number of blacks totally depending on tax payers handouts and in return the blacks must vote for these liberals… nothing is more racist and inhuman than this…

Also why is your username “Sallahudin”? Are you some muslim extremist? “Sallahudin” was the most famous/infamous mulsim leader who fought the Crusaders and in my opinion only a muslim extremist would use “Sallahudin” as a username.

mnjg on August 20, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Absolutely.

crr6 on May 30, 2011 at 5:35 PM

Del Dolemonte on August 20, 2012 at 1:18 PM

This is a poll of registered voters. Normally this skews Democrat, and the difference will be even greater this year. I’d say with a likely voter screen this would be even at worst, more likely a small Romney lead.

Texastoast on August 20, 2012 at 1:45 PM

mnjg on August 20, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Salahuddin is a common Muslim name. It doesn’t make you a Muslim extremist more than Richard will make you a Christian extremist.

Salahuddin on August 20, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Salahuddin is a common Muslim name. It doesn’t make you a Muslim extremist more than Richard will make you a Christian extremist.

Salahuddin on August 20, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Spare me the crap… I know exactly why you chose Salahuddin and it is not your real name…

mnjg on August 20, 2012 at 3:52 PM

If Obama is even, he’s leavin’. “Enthusiasm gap” is gigantic.

bob77 on August 20, 2012 at 4:07 PM

We didn’t just take a hit, we’re under fire with no end in sight.

Laura in Maryland on August 20, 2012 at 11:34 AM

November, then January.

air_up_there on August 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

There is no air up there. Come down to earth for some oxygen. It may not be too late for you.

cozmo on August 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM

So you guys are going to tell me that Romney and Ryan are conservative? I’m oxygen deprived because I am not happy with the liberals that the GOP has offered up for the Republican candidate? If oxygen deprivation will allow me to see these two libs as conservatives then I’ll just do without. Come on guys, these two are NOT conservative by any stretch of the imagination. Please offer up any evidence that they are, not just attacks.

air_up_there on August 20, 2012 at 5:58 PM

40% say they are better off with the gas prices we have today???
40% say they are better off with the value of homes declining?
40% say they are better off with less than 1% interest being paid on savings?
40% say they are better off after visiting their local grocery store?

It’s not a true response. They are die-hard Liberals, and answer the poll questions “correctly”. Unfortunately, they will probably vote the same way, no matter what.

RADIOONE on August 20, 2012 at 8:02 PM