President Obama job approval – last 30 days: 48-48% approve/disapprove (was 48-48% approve/disapprove)
Generic Congressional Vote – last 30 days: 45-42% Republican (was 45-41% 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 – 17 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 – 6 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 247, Romney 191, Undecided 100 (prior scorecard: 251-191 Obama)
Since our last “scorecard”, the biggest news is a recently released Rasmussen poll showing Mitt Romney with a 3 point lead in Wisconsin. Since this is a state that last voted for a Republican President in the 1984 Reagan landslide (and even then, he only received 54% of Wisconsin’s votes), this is a noteworthy development. Overall, President Obama’s average poll lead for the last 30 days of polling is 48-45%, while polling conducted since Scott Walker’s successful defeat of a union backed recall effort against him shows a much narrower 46-45% Obama lead. For these reasons, we are moving Wisconsin from “lean Democratic” to “tossup.”
Nevada has (for now, anyway) moved in the other direction from “tossup” to “lean Democratic”: a recent poll showed President Obama with a 48-42% lead there, and the average of polling for the last 30 days shows a 48-44% lead for the President.
If you look at the electoral map, it seems that President Obama has an “electoral fortress” of states in the Pacific Rim, the Midwest, and the Northeast. If you look at the detailed polling data, however, he should not be encouraged by the numbers, especially if you assume that the vast majority of those who are “undecided” will vote for Romney in the end. This is an assumption echoed by political analyst Michael Barone, who noted that “an old rule of political interpretation is that an incumbent tends to get the same percentage in an election as he is getting in polls”. 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.” Furthermore, in four of those states (Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, and Washington), President Obama is polling at 50%. With these numbers, President Obama can’t be assured of getting all 198 electoral votes from these states. It’s also worth noting there has been no recent polling in five of these states, so we can’t be absolutely certain how safe those unpolled states are for President Obama.
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, Nevada, Oregon, and Pennsylvania), President Obama’s numbers are in the 47-49% range. Just like with the “solid Obama” states, he can’t be assured of winning all of these states (which together contain 49 electoral votes) in November.
For states classified as “Undecided”, the “Obama plunge” is about as large: from 53 to 46%. These states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin) collectively have 100 electoral votes, and the Presidential election will be decided in these states. Unfortunately for President Obama, his numbers are in the 45-48% range, and with Mitt Romney running closely behind, Obama needs to be very worried about his prospects in these states.
In the states that are leaning or solidly Republican, the “Obama plunge” for states conducting polling is from 45 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.
Given our belief that those not explicitly for Obama are likely to break towards the Republicans in the end, if we were to look at the states where Obama is not polling at 50% (or above) as Romney states, he (Romney) could receive up to 340 electoral votes (270 required to win).
There were no surprises from primaries held in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Virginia this past Tuesday. While it is true that Democrats held onto Gabby Giffords’ House seat in Arizona by a 52-46% margin, this Democratic win was basically a “sympathy vote”, as the victorious Democrat (Ron Barber) worked for her and was similarly injured in the Tucson shooting. In fact, a poll taken just before the special election showed Barber with a 53-41% lead, while President Obama’s approval ratings in the district were 44-50%
June 26 – Primaries in Colorado, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah. Incumbents of either party are facing serious contests in New York and Utah