President Obama job approval – last 30 days: 48-48% approve/disapprove (was 48-49% approve/disapprove)
Generic Congressional Vote – last 30 days: 45-42% Republican (was 45-42% Republican)
Congressional retirements (including defeats): 60 (49 in the House and 11 in the Senate)
Congressional Primary defeats: 7 (6 in the House and 1 in the Senate)
US Senate: 52 Democrats, 48 Republicans (Republican gain of +1 in Nebraska) (Note: it’s very early in the primary season – 23 out of 33 Senate races do not have the party nominees selected yet).
Governor: 30 Republicans, 19 Democrats, 1 Independent, (Republican gain of +1 in NC) (Note: it’s very early in the primary season – 8 out of 11 Governor’s races do not have the party nominees selected yet).
Presidential – How we call a state
We believe that what matters most in the 2012 Presidential race (more than the margin by which President Obama leads (or trails) Mitt Romney in any poll) is the actual voter percentage President Obama is receiving, for the simple reason that when you’re talking about a controversial incumbent, those who are not explicitly supporting him in the polls will almost certainly end up voting for Romney on Election Day.Therefore, we have been compiling poll results by state. For each state, we have then taken the average of that state’s poll results. In the process of doing so, we have used Obama’s 2008 showing as a yardstick. Here are our criteria:
(1) Safe Democratic/Obama or safe Republican/Romney (dark blue/red) – if no polls have been conducted within the last 30 days for that state, a 2008 Obama (or McCain) percentage of 60% or above gets this rating. If polls have been conducted, an Obama (or Romney) average of 50% or more gets this classification;
(2) Lean Democratic/Obama or lean Republican/Romney (light blue/red) – if no polls have been conducted within the last 30 days for that state, a 2008 Obama (or McCain) percentage between 53-59% gets this rating. If polls have been conducted, an Obama (or Romney) average percentage of 49% or less with a lead of 3 or more points will get this classification;
(3) Tossup (yellow) – if there was polling done, a candidate leads by less than 3 points or the 2008 election results had the winning candidate (Obama or McCain) receiving 52% or less;
Presidential Scorecard: Obama 273, Romney 181, Undecided 84 (prior scorecard: 303-170 Obama)
Since our last “scorecard”, there has been some movement away from President Obama/towards Romney in the following states:
(1) Iowa and Nevada have moved from “solid Democratic” to “lean Democratic”;
(2) Colorado and Ohio were “lean Democratic” but are now in the “tossup” category;
(3) Now that a poll has been conducted in Indiana, we have moved that state from “tossup” to “lean Republican”;
(4) Arizona has moved from “lean Republican” to “solid Republican”
The only movement towards the President was Virginia moving from “lean Democratic” to “solid Democratic”, although Obama’s poll average there is 50-44%. Given our belief about the “undecided” vote, this state should really be classified as a tossup state, although we’ll let subsequent polling confirm or contradict our assertion.
While President Obama seemingly has an Electoral College majority, the detailed numbers beneath this “score” are more ominous, because the average Obama percentages in each state for the past 30 days consistently shows a noticeable “Obama plunge” (i.e., a drop in support relative to 2008).
In other words, the “solid Obama” (dark blue) states that have conducted polling show that Obama’s average share of the vote relative to 2008 has dropped from 59 to 53% – a 6% “plunge.” Since we believe (and history has generally shown) that the vast majority of undecideds in a Presidential campaign break against the incumbent in the end, Obama cannot be assured of all 160 electoral votes from this bloc of states – in fact, in four states (Maine, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington), Obama is polling at 50%.
Obama’s prospects are even less encouraging in the “lean Obama” (light blue) states that conducted polling: Obama’s average share of the vote has dropped from 56 to 48% – an 8% “plunge.” Given what we believe about how the undecideds will break, the President is in serious trouble in these states that collectively have 65 electoral votes.
In the “undecided” (yellow) states, Obama’s support has dropped from 51 to 46%. These states collectively have 81 electoral votes, and are therefore fairly likely to vote for Romney.
In the states that are leaning or solidly Republican, the “Obama plunge” for states conducting polling is from 44 to 40%. Of course, these states are not likely to be contested anyway, so pollsters by and large will not be polling these states very much.
In conclusion, if you assume that undecideds’ breaking for Romney costs Obama those states where he is polling less than 50% of the vote, Romney could potentially receive up to 335 electoral votes.
June 5 – “Super Tuesday” primary in California, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota
June 5 – Wisconsin Governor recall election (The average of the last 7 days of polling shows that by a 52-44% margin, voters want to keep Republican incumbent Scott Walker in office)
June 12 – Primaries in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Virginia
June 12 – Special election in Arizona for Gabby Giffords’ House seat. This swing district could be a GOP pickup.