Obama flops in states he flipped in 2008

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY DAVE BOYER

Dis­mal new poll numbers for Pres­i­dent Obama in Vir­ginia and North Carolina un­der­score a grow­ing dan­ger to his 2012 re­elec­tion hopes — his job-ap­proval rat­ings have dropped be­low 50 per­cent in all of the key states that he “flipped” from the Repub­li­cans in 2008.

Mr. Obama was able to win three years ago mainly be­cause he cap­tured nine states that had gone for Repub­li­can Ge­orge W. Bush in 2004: Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Vir­ginia, In­di­ana, Colorado, Iowa, New Mex­ico and Ne­vada. Com­bined, those states will ac­count for 112 elec­toral votes in 2012.

But with just over a year un­til the next elec­tion, Mr. Obama’s rat­ing has fallen be­low 50 per­cent in ev­ery one of those states — al­ways a warn­ing sign for an in­cum­bent. In only one state, Iowa, is his ap­proval rat­ing, 48 per­cent, higher than his dis­ap­proval rat­ing, 45 per­cent.

“The coun­try’s off on the wrong track, and you pay a price for that when you’re in charge,” said Glen Bol­ger, a part­ner at the Repub­li­can polling firm Pub­lic Opinion Strate­gies in Alexan­dria. “It’s all about the econ­omy. He’s not get­ting the job done in the eyes of the vot­ers.”

In Florida, where Mr. Obama took 50.9 per­cent of the vote in 2008, only 41 per­cent of those polled in a re­cent sur­vey ap­prove of the job Mr. Obama is do­ing; 56 per­cent dis­ap­prove.

In Vir­ginia, a break­through state for the pres­i­dent in 2008 when he took 52.7 per­cent of the vote, only 40 per­cent of vot­ers now ap­prove of him, 54 per­cent dis­ap­prove, and he’s trail­ing former Mas­sachusetts Gov. Mitt Rom­ney by 2 per­cent­age points.

The web­site Real Clear Pol­i­tics rates only one of the nine states, New Mex­ico, as still lean­ing to­ward Mr. Obama, with Iowa rated as a tossup. All the oth­ers are listed in the Repub­li­can camp.

Pres­i­den­tial spokesman Jay Car­ney said Mr. Obama isn’t wor­ried about his re­elec­tion prospects.

“The pres­i­dent is fo­cused on the things he needs to do as pres­i­dent — get­ting the econ­omy go­ing,” Mr. Car­ney said. “He’s not fo­cused on his po­lit­i­cal stand­ing or his stand­ing in the polls.”

But since an­nounc­ing his $447 bil­lion jobs plan on Sept. 8, Mr. Obama has de­voted his first three trips out­side Washington to three of the “flipped” states: Vir­ginia, North Carolina and Ohio. On Thurs­day, he will travel to Cincin­nati, near the district of House Speaker John A. Boehner, a Repub­li­can, to high­light a crum­bling bridge over the Ohio River. His jobs bill would pro­vide tens of bil­lions of fed­eral dol­lars to fund con­struc­tion projects.

Mr. Obama’s ap­proval rat­ings have been hurt by slug­gish growth and an un­em­ploy­ment rate that has re­mained above 9 per­cent na­tion­ally this year.

In re­sponse, the pres­i­dent pro­posed a stim­u­lus plan this month that is run­ning into op­po­si­tion from both par­ties on Capi­tol Hill.

The ap­proval trends in these key states are grow­ing worse for Mr. Obama as the weak econ­omy per­sists. In Vir­ginia, a Quin­nip­iac Univer­sity poll re­leased Thurs­day said 40 per­cent of vot­ers ap­prove of the job Mr. Obama is do­ing, down from 48 per­cent in June.

In North Carolina, the site of next year’s Demo­cratic National Con­ven­tion, 43 per­cent of vot­ers ap­prove of Mr. Obama and 53 per­cent dis­ap­prove. Mr. Obama won the state by 1 per­cent­age point over Sen. John Mc­Cain, Ari­zona Repub­li­can, in 2008, the first time a Demo­crat took the Tarheel State since 1976.

“These are the pur­plest of the pur­ple — the true bat­tle­grounds for 2012,” Mr. Bol­ger wrote in a blog post. “One thing is cer­tain — if the Repub­li­cans do not win at least seven of these nine states, we do not win back the White House.”

His­pan­ics are a key vot­ing bloc in many of these swing states. They ac­counted for 9 per­cent of the vot­ers in those nine states in 2008, and they fa­vored Mr. Obama by 26 points, 62 per­cent to 36 per­cent.

In three states — Florida, New Mex­ico and Ne­vada — His­pan­ics were es­pe­cially cru­cial to Mr. Obama’s vic­tory. In Ne­vada, His­pan­ics fa­vored Mr. Obama by 76 per­cent to 22 per­cent.

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