Decision 2012 – JMCEL’s June 21 Presidential scorecard


President Obama job approval – last 30 days: 48-49% approve/disapprove (was 48-48% approve/disapprove)

Generic Congressional Vote – last 30 days: 44-42% 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)


Projections (based on average of last 30 days of polling where states have held their primaries)

US Senate: 51 Democrats, 45 Republicans, 1 Independent, 3 Tossups

  • Projected Republican gain in Nebraska
  • 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: it’s very early in the primary season – 17 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

  • Projected Republican gain in North Carolina
  • (Note: it’s very early in the primary season – 6 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).


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 257, Romney 191, Undecided 90 (prior scorecard: 247-191 Obama

Presidential Election as of June 21








Since our last “scorecard”, we have made one change to our projection: Wisconsin has moved from “Tossup” to “Lean Democratic.” The last average of the last 30 days of polling showed President Obama with a 48-45% poll lead; currently, his lead is 48-44%. Since a 3 point lead is the cutoff for a state being a “tossup” state, that is why we made this projection change.

Other than that change, the poll results are a mixed bag for the President: while he moved into a solid 56-33% lead in New Jersey (previously, he was just below 50%), his leads in Michigan and Washington have narrowed (his average lead in Michigan is 48-44%, while in Washington, his average poll lead is 52-41%).

This means that on the surface, 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, the numbers are not very encouraging for him, especially if you assume that the vast majority of those who are “undecided” will vote for Romney in the end. In fact, if you look at the poll numbers for those explicitly supporting the President, there has been a relatively consistent “Obama plunge” relative to his 2008 showing in many states.

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 54% – a 5% “plunge.” Furthermore, in two of the states in this category, President Obama is polling at or below 50%.  While he would likely carry nearly every one of these states (which in the aggregate are worth 198 electoral votes), this size of “Obama plunge” was his margin of victory in several more marginal states.

In fact, we see a similar plunge in the “lean Obama” (light blue) states that have conducted polling. In these states, Obama’s share of the vote relative to 2008 has dropped from 56 to 48% – an 8% “plunge.” Furthermore, President Obama’s showing in these states (Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) is consistently in the 47-48% range. These are not the percentages an incumbent President wants to be getting in these states if he wants to win all 59 electoral votes.

The plunge is (ominous for the President) nearly as large in the “Undecided” states: his share of the vote relative to 2008 drops from 52 to 46%. Because these states were won narrowly in 2008, Obama can ill afford a 6 point plunge in this group of states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia) that collectively cast 90 electoral votes. In fact, it is here where the Presidential election will be decided. 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 here.

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.

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 344 electoral votes (270 required to win).


Primary Results/Upcoming Events

June and July are relatively quiet as far as primaries go, although four states (Colorado, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah) are holding their primaries next Tuesday, June 26. In Utah and New York, several long time incumbents are facing stiff primary challenges.

After that, there are no primaries until the July 31 primary in Georgia. Two days later (on August 2) will be the Tennessee primary. At that point, 32 states will have held their primaries. 17 of the remaining 18 states will then, in rapid fire succession, hold their primaries in August/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.