Think President Obama is popular? Think again

According to Gallup, President Obama ranks among the lowest presidents in terms of second term popularity.  In fact, he’s tied with President George W. Bush as the lease popular overall

While the mainstream press routinely reports that President Obama is riding high and that Republicans are reeling, Gallup tells a rather different story about the popularity of our newly reelected president.  Across Gallup’s entire history of presidential job-approval polling — dating back to 1945 — every president but one has had a higher job-approval rating in the January following his reelection than Obama has.  No president has had a lower rating than Obama’s.

While 52% may be comforting in terms of trying to prevail in an election, it does not set a very robust baseline from which to launch a second term.  (Interesting note: Reagan, Nixon, and Eisenhower’s approval ratings at this stage of their respective presidencies dwarf President Obama’s.) 

Current polling analysis

In his recent analysis of the campaign polls, Keith backer from the www.battlegroundwatch.com blog provides a very detailed, and informative breakdown of the status of the race.

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I won’t rehash a lot of what he provides in his post, which are always informative, but I will say a few things jumped out to me. First, it appears as though some of the major media outlets are continuing to oversampled Democrats. In a recent poll commissioned by the Washington Post, and ABC news, it shows that Obama was leading Romney by 5 percentage points. This seems strange, given the current trajectory of the daily tracking polls from the Gallup organization, and Rasmussen reports. (In both of those polls, Romney is leading Obama by 2%.). Keith writes:

The party identification in the survey is D +9 (Dem 35, Rep 26, Ind 33). This compares to 2008 when party ID was D +7 (Dem 39, Rep 32, Ind 29) and 2004 when party ID split evenly (Dem 37, Rep 37, Ind 26). Making matters even worse, in their poll just over two weeks ago that survey had a party ID of D +3 (Dem 33, Rep 30, Ind 33).

Overall, this would be extremely unusual for Pres. Obama to really have that type of a lead. First, independence throughout all polls (including this one) are showing a distinct lean towards Romney. Also, even Republicans are starting to edge out Democrats in enthusiasm. I highly doubt that ABC News and the Washington Post are purposefully doing this, however, it does show that in the modern era (for whatever reason) polling seems to be sporadic, and inexact.

National Journal: winning without Ohio (possible, but tough)

The other day, I wrote about a pathway for Romney that doesn’t include Ohio. This article from the National Review takes this topic and analyzes it in more detail. You can see that it is certainly possible, but probably a long shot. Something key contained within this article is something that I’ve always thought was the case but that isn’t published in many places: if the president is polling at or below 47% at this stage in the race, it is almost impossible (barring a true October surprise) for the incumbent to claw his way back and win that state. That is why Suffolk University withdrew its polling activities in Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. The reason for this is due to the nature of the the polling as it relates to incumbents. If an incumbent is polling below 50% the likelihood of him prevailing in that state are 50/50 at best. (Though it isn’t monolithic, undecideds usually break for the challenger.) Thus, when looking at polls, make sure to pay attention to where Obama is positioned as much as the spread. If he’s hovering at numbers in the sub-48% range, the incumbent is in trouble.

Romney +7 in Florida [Not a Typo]

A poll out of Florida shows continued strength from Romney being into the final weeks of the campaign. A few days ago, the Suffolk University polling outfit, indicated that they were no longer polling in Florida, Virginia, or North Carolina. Many people received that information with skepticism. It would appear as though this report seems to back up their determination regarding at least one of those battleground states. (Florida)