President Obama job approval – last 30 days: 48-48% approve/disapprove (was 48-48% approve/disapprove)
Generic Congressional Vote – last 30 days: 45-41% Republican (was 45-42% Republican)
Congressional retirements (including defeats): 61 (50 in the House and 11 in the Senate)
Congressional Primary defeats: 8 (7 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 – 21 out of 33 Senate contests have not yet had their party primaries).
Governor: 30 Republicans, 19 Democrats, 1 Independent, (Republican gain of +1 in NC) (Note: it’s very early in the primary season – 7 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 251, Romney 191, Undecided 96 (prior scorecard: 273-181 Obama)
Since our last “scorecard”, there has been more movement away from President Obama/towards Romney in the following states:
(1) Virginia has moved from “safe Democratic” to “tossup”;
(2) Iowa and Nevada have moved from “lean Democratic” to “tossup”;
(3) Missouri has moved from “tossup” to “lean Republican”;
(4) North Dakota has moved from “lean Republican” to “safe Republican”
President Obama has also seen some erosion in his numbers in Ohio and Michigan, although there has not yet been enough movement in those states for us to change our calls for those states. Furthermore, Wisconsin is now a wildcard, because the 53-46% win by Republican incumbent Scott Walker may have some crossover benefit to the Romney campaign. Certainly it will motivate Republican activists there. We just haven’t seen any significant polling there in the aftermath of that election.
While it seems President Obama has a “fortress” of states in the Pacific Rim, the Midwest, and the Northeast, the detailed polling numbers aren’t very favorable to his campaign if you assume that the vast majority of those who are “undecided” will vote for Romney in the end. Furthermore, there has been a consistent “Obama plunge” relative to his 2008 showing in nearly every state if you look at the average of the last 30 days of polling.
More specifically, 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.” This plunge was the same as it was last time in the “dark blue” states, and in four states (Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, and Washington), President Obama is polling at 50%. With these numbers, President Obama can’t be assured of all 195 electoral votes from these states. It’s also worth noting there has been no recent polling in five of these states.
In the “lean Obama” (light blue) states that have conducted polling show that Obama’s average share of the vote relative to 2008 has dropped from 56 to 48% – an 8% “plunge.” In these states (Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington), President Obama is polling at 48-49% of the vote. Just like with the “solid Obama” states, he can’t be assured of winning all of these states (which together contain 53 electoral votes).
Now that several previously Obama leaning states have moved into the “undecided” category, we see a similarly large “Obama plunge” from 53 to 46%. These states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia) collectively have 96 electoral votes, and the Presidential election will be decided in this category.
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.
Our view that those not explicitly for Obama are likely to break towards the Republicans in the end has been validated repeatedly in numerous Presidential elections when an incumbent is on the ballot. Given the current mood of the electorate (as measured by the polls), any state where Obama is not polling at 50% (or above) may end up in the Romney column. Using that assumption, Mitt Romney could receive up to 340 electoral votes.
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, although there is a huge reservoir of sympathy for Rep. Giffords and her aide, Democrat Ron Barber. In a poll released today by PPP, the Democrat has a 53-41% poll lead, although it’s worth noting that the poll sample was about 5 percentage points more Democratic than the 2008 Presidential election results would suggest.
June 26 – Primaries in Colorado, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah