Part 1: Summary Statistics
- President Obama job approval – last 30 days: 47-49% approve/disapprove (was 47-49% approve/disapprove)
- Generic Congressional Vote – last 30 days: 43-42% Republican (was 43-42% Republican)
- Congressional retirements (including defeats): 62 (51 in the House and 11 in the Senate)
- Congressional Primary defeats: 9 (8 in the House and 1 in the Senate)
Part 2: Projections (based on average of last 30 days of polling where states have held their primaries)
US Senate: 49 Democrats, 47 Republicans, 1 Independent, 3 Tossups (was 50-46 Democrat in last scorecard)
- Projected Republican gains in Nebraska and Virginia, and now in North Dakota ( recent Rasmussen poll showed Republican Rick Berg with a 49-40 lead)
- Republican held seats in Indiana and Nevada are too close to call
- Democratic held seat in Montana too close to call
- Republican held seat in Maine has an Independent in the race who is polling over 50%
- (Note: 15 out of 33 Senate contests have not yet had their party primaries, so we are not in a position to call those races).
Governor: 30 Republicans, 19 Democrats, 1 Independent (was 30-19 Republican in last scorecard)
- Projected Republican gain in North Carolina
- (Note: 5 out of 11 Governor’s races do not have the party nominees selected yet, so we are not in a position to call those races).
Part 3: How we call a state – President, Governor, Senate
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 (which will be similar for statewide races for Governor or Senator):
(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;
(4) Senate/gubernatorial primary has not been held yet (or, no polls have been publicly released) (gray)
(5) No Senate/gubernatorial race in 2012 for this state (black)
Part 4: Presidential Scorecard (270 electoral votes required to win): Obama 264, Romney 191, Undecided 83 (prior scorecard: 227-191 Obama)
We have made three changes to our scorecard since July 3: Colorado, Ohio, and Wisconsin have been moved from “Tossup” to “Lean Democratic.” In recent weeks, President Obama has unleashed a salvo of negative ads against Mitt Romney’s business record that have undoubtedly moved some “soft” Democrats back into the Democratic column.
However, the election is far from being settled. For one thing, Mitt Romney is a “blank slate” with voters, and even though President Obama has landed some initial blows, Romney is amply funded, and will inevitably counterattack. Furthermore, the Republicans have their convention first at the end of August, and the acceptance speech Romney gives at the Republican convention will obviously be very important, in terms of defining himself to undecided voters. Romney will also get additional publicity from his choice for Vice President, so this decision he makes is similarly crucial for him/his campaign.
Right now, President Obama has a formidable electoral base in the Northeast, New England, and the Pacific Rim, while a handful of states in the Midwest, the Atlantic Coast, and the Mountain West will decide the election. Still, if you look at available detailed polling data from the individual states, Obama has seen a consistent “plunge” in his support relative to 2008, and his slightly strengthened position hasn’t changed the overall parameters of the Presidential race.
In the “solid Obama” (dark blue) states that have conducted polling, Obama’s average share of the vote relative to 2008 has dropped from 60 to 54% – a 6% “plunge.” While this in itself won’t flip any “dark blue” states, this amount of “Obama plunge” will certainly shake up things in more marginal states, as we will see shortly. For now, the 201 electoral votes from states in this category are President Obama’s “base.”
The reason that President Obama remains in trouble is that he is currently facing an identical 6 point “Obama plunge” in the states that are leaning to him. In other words, there has been a dilution in his support relative to 2008 from 54 to 48%. This despite the fact that Mitt Romney has taken a heavy pounding on the airwaves from the Obama campaign. Furthermore, the Romney average in these states is 42%, which means that he is not out of the game here: as we approach the Labor Day holiday, these states will inevitably tighten up.
In the tossup states, Obama’s chances are similarly chancy: here, he has seen a 7 point “Obama plunge” from 53 to 46%, and with Romney averaging 45%, there will be some reclassification of these states to “leans Republican” the closer we get to Election Day.
Finally, in the states that are leaning or solidly Republican, the “Obama plunge” for states conducting polling is from 43 to 38%. Of course, these states are not likely to be contested anyway, and pollsters therefore are not likely to be doing much polling here.
Given our belief that those not explicitly for Obama are likely to break towards Mitt Romney in the end, if we were to assume that the states where Obama is not polling at least 50% are Romney states, he (Romney) could receive up to 341 electoral votes (270 required to win) – this number is unchanged from last week, and shows that the ad offensive initiated by the Obama campaign has not really moved the needle that much. The ball is now in Mitt Romney’s court.
Part 5: Primary Results/Upcoming Events
The only statewide races this month are on July 31: Georgia holds its primary (and Texas is conducting its runoff) on the same day. After that, there will be a “sprint to the finish”, as 18 states hold their primaries in rapid fire succession between August and early September. The last state to hold its primaries (Louisiana) will do so on the same day that voters in all 50 states will be choosing their President.