When people look back to see the day that Hope and Change officially expired, this could be the day selected. Democratic-leaning pollster PPP surveyed likely voters in Illinois and Pennsylvania to determine the mood of the electorate and the value of the Obama endorsement in the upcoming midterms. They conclude that Obama’s coattails have officially shriveled into box-office poison:
Illinois voters say they would be negatively influenced if a candidate was endorsed by Barack Obama. And if his support isn’t an asset in his home state it’s hard to imagine where it is.
40% of voters in the state say they’d be less likely to support an Obama endorsed candidate to only 26% who say it would be an asset. The reality at this point is that Obama turns Republican voters off to a much greater extent than he excites Democrats. That’s reflected in the fact that 83% of Republicans say an Obama endorsement would be a negative with them while only 49% of Democrats say it would be a positive. Independents also respond negatively by a 38/19 margin.
The numbers on an Obama endorsement are perhaps more relevant with undecided voters. Among those who have not yet made up their minds in the Senate race 21% say an Obama endorsement would resonate positively with them while 33% say it would be a turnoff.
At least Obama can claim to be more effective than Sarah Palin in endorsements in his home state — but not in Pennsylvania. Almost a majority of likely voters in the Keystone State (49%) say Obama’s endorsement will make them less likely to vote for a candidate, while only 20% say it will make them more enthusiastic. Palin’s numbers on this question is 28/46, not exactly a barnburning number — but remember that Obama won Pennsylvania in 2008 by ten points over Palin and John McCain. Palin now outperforms Obama by nine points in the gap on endorsement power. It’s even worse among independents in PA, where Palin gets a 21/36 but Obama gets a dismal 15/50.
The poll itself has more bad news for Democrats in Pennsylvania and Illinois:
The GOP holds a 48-39 generic-ballot advantage among likely voters in the Keystone State. In Illinois, Democrats are in safer territory, defending no more than three swing seats and holding a 46-40 lead over the Republican Party. Nearly all of the tenuous Democratic seats in both states, however, are in heavily white, suburban, exurban, or small-city districts that voted for George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, and they could show an even greater Republican trend than the overall statewide figure.
Much of this comes down to turnout and GOTV efforts, PPP acknowledges, but cautions that Obama didn’t prove all that motivational when his approval numbers were much higher than they are now:
Obviously these numbers are skewed somewhat by the fact that many 2008 Obama voters are not in the likely voter pool and the argument in favor of having him come campaign for you is that you might be able to draw more of those folks out. But his visits didn’t seem to have that impact in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Virginia. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Obama is not much of an asset for Democratic candidates on the campaign trail and that for most of them it would be better if he just stayed away.
Jim Geraghty says the Illinois results will be the most surprising thing we’ll read today. No one will be more surprised than the members of the Chicago Machine in the Oval Office, I’d suspect.