This analysis is particularly troublesome given that while the President’s job approval rating nationally is below the 50% mark, the President’s reelection rests not within the national opinion as much as it does within the collective electoral college results that arrived at through the opinions reflected in each individual state. And while a Real Clear Politics average of national polls put the Presidents approval rating at 46.5% and his disapproval rating is at 47.9%, what the Gallup state-by-state analysis shows is that the President’s challenge is actually tougher than the national polls indicate.
Gallup points out that President Obama received a 44% job approval rating in his third year in office, which is down from 47% in his second year. If that trend were to continue, Ron Paul could be nominated by the G.O.P. and probably defeat President Obama handily. But reality dictates that Ron Paul will never see the light of day as a Republican presidential nominee, and that President Obama’s numbers are not likely to trend downward as he embarks upon a billion dollar campaign that will seek to rehabilitate his own image while eviscerating the image of his Republican opponent.
However, if the President finds his reelection effort failing to reverse the trend of his existing numbers and change the opinions that voters have of him now, he is doomed. Based upon the current trend, If the President were to only carry those states in the Gallup poll which he he had a net positive approval rating in 2011, he would lose the 2012 election with 215 electoral votes, to the Republican nominee’s 323 electoral votes.
A White House 2012 breakdown of the Gallup study demonstrates how daunting a challenge lies ahead for President Obama.
Based upon his current state-by-state approval ratings, if we give President Obama each state where his rating is at 50% or above, he would lose the election by winning 159 electoral college votes from D.C., California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont. The Republican nominee would receive 379 electoral votes, 109 more than needed.
But White House 2012 tried to be a bit more realistic and decided to breakdown these numbers down by giving President Obama the benefit of the doubt by assuming he can turn his numbers around in all those states where his approval was as low as 45%.
Regardless of the numbers, there are some states that will not likely vote Republican regardless of how bad a job President Obama is doing or who the Republican presidential nominee is. States like Washington and Oregon on the West Coast will probably remain dark blue and the president may easily turn around his downward trending approval ratings among the liberal sympathisers of those states. That accounts for 19 more electoral votes. Then you can easily see the President take Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan in the Midwest. That’s 36 more electoral votes. Then because his numbers are barely above 45% in Iowa, let’s say he can pull off some magic there, a state which he won in 2008. That’s 6 more. Then on the East Coast, you’ll find Maine, and Rhode Island remaining true blue. That’s another 8 electoral votes. And throw in Pennsylvania too if for no other than reason than the Southeast portion of the state may still be strongly under the President’s spell. That’s 20 more for a total shift of 89 electoral votes which gives President Obama 248 to the G.O.P.’s 290, a figure that still gives the win to the Republican nominee with 20 more electoral votes than needed.
With 29 electoral votes, this would make Florida the key to the President’s winning reelection. Without it he needs Ohio with 18 electoral votes and at least one of the following other states; Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, or North Carolina.
Those four states are not goof for him right now, but he has better numbers in them than he does in other states like New Hampshire or Arizona.
But even these state’s will be hard for Obama. Currently his job approval is 40.4% in Colorado, 41.7% in New Mexico, 41.3% in Nevada, and 43.7% in North Carolina. Meanwhile his approval numbers in Florida and Ohio are at 43.6% and 42.1% respectively.
While turning these numbers around will not be impossible in the course of the lifetime that politically speaking, exists between now and November, doing so will be quite a dramatic achievement. One that may require not just a well run campaign on the President’s part, but also a badly managed campaign on the part of whoever his Republican opponent is.
On a sidenote, I can not figure out for the life of me how the President’s job approval rating went up in a place like Wyoming. It went up slightly in Connecticut and Maine, but those two states are known for the lunacy of their liberalism and in many cases their socialism. But Wyoming?
As for the final outcome, no one can honestly say they know how the election will end. But based upon a bit of instinct, the issues that will play out during the campaign, and the existing numbers, I offer my own following projections.
It should be noted that if this scenario does come to fruition, there is the potential for an Electoral College crisis, for it offers the possibility of a tie in the Electoral College:
However I do not suspect that such a tie will occur because of the battleground states that I believe this will come down to, I foresee Republicans winning Pennsylvania, Colorado, and New Mexico.
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