Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WSJ Says 2012 Comes Down to 7 States...Where Obama is Below 50% Approval

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal noted that they believe the 2012 election will come down to 7 swing states.  It's a predictable scenario, one that we've seen play out especially in the last three Presidential elections. There's one conclusion that the Journal did not note:  According to a year long study by Gallup, President Obama is below 50% approval in all 7 of those states.

Notes the Journal:

Barring a Carter-like collapse, President Obama is assured of 175 electoral votes from 12 deep-blue states and the District of Columbia: California (55 electoral votes), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (20), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (11), New Jersey (14), New York (29), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), Washington state (12) and Washington, D.C. (3). Three more states are not quite as certain, but still likely Democratic: Maine (4), Minnesota (10) and Oregon (7). Even though Minnesota is competitive enough to vote Republican under the right set of conditions, it is the state with the longest Democratic presidential streak, dating to 1976.

The Republicans have their own firewall. Almost any sentient GOP nominee will carry Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arkansas (6), Idaho (4), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (8), Mississippi (6), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), North Dakota (3), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Utah (6), West Virginia (5) and Wyoming (3). These 18 states have 105 electoral votes.

The Obama forces have bravely boasted that they can turn Arizona (11), Georgia (16) and Texas (38), mainly because of growing Latino voting power. But with the economy in the tank, electoral claims on these big three will likely go the way of John McCain's early declaration in '08 that California was within his grasp. Count another 65 red votes here.

Four years ago, even optimistic Democrats didn't think they would pick up Indiana (11), North Carolina (15), or an electoral vote in Nebraska (which like Maine awards one vote per congressional district), yet all three went for Mr. Obama by small margins. In 2012, Indiana is likely to desert him, as is the one Cornhusker district. To keep North Carolina, the Democrats chose Charlotte for their national convention and will make a big play statewide. As of now, it looks tough for them. Thus Republicans are in the lead to win 26 more electors. Missouri was the sole squeaker that went for McCain; few believe it will be tight next year, so the GOP will likely have those 10 votes, too.

Republicans therefore are a lock or lead in 24 states for 206 electoral votes, and Democrats have or lead in 19 states for 247 electoral votes. That's why seven super-swing states with 85 electors will determine which party gets to the magic number of 270 electoral votes: Colorado (9), Florida (29), Iowa (6), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), Ohio (18) and Virginia (13).
  (1 - Emphasis Added)

Very interesting.  As usual, a handful of states will choose the President.  Well, theoretically.  Regardless of how it's presented in the Media, it takes 50 states to elect a President, it's just that 43 of them are predictable.  Here's the big thing:  According to a year long Gallup survey published in August, Obama is below 50% approval in all seven states (2)

Here are the President's Approval numbers in all seven states with their electoral votes noted:

Colorado (9): 44% Approval
Florida (29): 47% Approval
Iowa (6): 49% Approval
New Hampshire (4): Below 40% Approval
Nevada (6):   44% ApprovalOhio (18): 45% ApprovalVirginia (13): 46% Approval

Note that the only The only states that are within the 3% margin of error for Obama are Florida and Iowa.  Iowa won't make a difference.  Florida plus one other state from the list could win re-election for Obama, right?  Well, not according to a new Magellan Strategies survey. (3) In that survey it was found that only 37% of Floridians think Obama deserves to be re-elected. So, according to the Magellan survey, we can pencil Florida in for the Republican nominee. 

Take Florida and add in the electoral votes of the states where the President is below 45% approval, you find the Republican nominee with at least 272 electoral votes...and the White House. If the GOP nominee sweeps these seven states (where again, Obama is below 50% approval) they now have 291 Electoral Votes to Obama's 247.  It's a nice Electoral victory, one that's not a landslide but is solid.

For the record, I think there are a few previously blue states that are up for grabs.  Wisconsin, and it's 10 electoral votes could turn red.  After all, it's the state that repudiated the Democrat entitlement state in 2010 and held those gains in the 2011 recall elections.  Obama's approval was at 50% in the aforementioned Gallup Poll and continued failure for Obama could tip the scale. .  I, for one, believe New Jersey could turn as well.  Obama is at 54% approval in that state, but if a straight talker like Chris Christie runs, it can be won.  If Mitt Romney ends up as the nominee (I hope not, but for the sake of discussion) I think you can easily see Massachusetts' 10 electoral votes going to him.

Bottom line, I see a clear path to victory for the Republican nominee in 2012.  The seven swing states predicted all disapprove of Obama by margins ranging from 1-10%.  Florida is not looking good for Obama, neither is Ohio.  You know what else isn't looking good for Obama?  Reelection.  And that's good for America.

(1) Wall Street Journal: The 2012 Election Will Come Down to Seven States

(2) Obama Job Approval 50% or Higher in 16 States and D.C.

(3) Obama at 37% approval, re-elect in Florida

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