Let’s play White House Spin for a moment with the latest Marist poll on Obama’s re-election prospects. The poll shows that 43% of voters are planning to vote against Barack Obama in the 2012 elections already, while only 36% have decided to vote for a second Obama term. It’s actually a slight improvement over the last seven months since the midterms. He’s still got the possibility of a 14-point win in November 2012 by picking up all of the undecideds! He can start with the 20% of his own party that hasn’t been convinced of the necessity of an encore:
Looking to 2012, 43% of registered voters nationwide report they plan to vote against President Obama in 2012. This compares with 36% who say they definitely plan to support him. A notable 21% are unsure. Little has changed on this question since McClatchy-Marist last reported it in April. At that time, 44% reported they planned to back someone else while 37% said they planned to vote for the president. 18%, at the time, were unsure.
Independents play a key role in Obama’s re-election bid. 43% say they would vote against Mr. Obama in 2012 while 29% are securely in his corner. Nearly three in ten independent voters — 28% — are unsure. The president has failed to make inroads with these all-important voters. In McClatchy-Marist’s previous survey, 47% of independents reported they would not support the president while 32% said they would cast their ballot for Mr. Obama. 21% were unsure.
While 70% of Democratic voters report they will unequivocally cast their ballot for the president and only 10% say they will vote against him, a notable one in five — 20% — are unsure. Not surprisingly, most Republicans — 85% — don’t plan on supporting the president while just 4% say they will. One in ten — 10% — are unsure.
The sample split on this poll leaves something to be desired. The survey has a D+7 sample, 34/27/38, in which Republicans are significantly underrepresented. That makes the bad news here for the White House even worse, as a more representative sample would likely show Obama in even worse shape than here.
The demographic breakdowns show significant obstacles to an Obama re-election. The gap in the South is 32/50, for instance, while the normal Democratic stronghold of the Northeast only gives him a weak 5-point edge, 38/33 with 29% undecided. Obama does better in the West, 42/36. He loses white voters by a majority, 31/50, men by 14 points at 31/45, and gets edged among women, 40/41 — a surprising result. Obama trails in both income categories and both education demos, while only winning a 3-point edge among 18-30YOs, another surprising result.
About the best takeaway for the White House is that the percentage of definite votes against Obama has dropped since the midterms by five points, from 48% to 43%. None of those became Obama voters, however; they all went to Undecided.
Marist also asked about the GOP primary, and Mitt Romney leads it with 19%. The poll included current outsiders Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, and Rudy Giuliani. Perry and Giuliani tie for second place at 13%, with Palin fourth at 11% and Michele Bachmann fifth at 8%. Obama manages to beat all of the Republicans head-to-head — due in part to the sample skew — but does worst against Romney, only leading 46/42. Giuliani gets the short end of a 48/41 split, Perry trails 48/39, and Bachmann falls 12 points off the pace at 49/37. Palin does worst at 56/30 for Obama.
So to return to the White House Spin Game, the Marist poll shows him beating all comers … but it looks like it’s mainly by default at the moment.