The Big Nine and the 2012 Presidential Election

Sorry sports fans, this blog post is not about a new NCAA football conference (although it could be).  Instead, it’s about the nine states that George W. Bush won in 2004 but flipped over to Barack Obama in 2008.  The states: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.  These are the purplest of the purple — the true battlegrounds for 2012.  Other states may well come into play, but one thing is certain — if the Republicans do not win at least seven of  these nine states, we do not win back the White House. 

(As a reminder, because of population shifts, electoral votes in many states have changed — hence the GOP nominee could lose New Mexico and Virginia, for instance, and still win the Presidency.)

Every six months, Gallup does a merge of all of its national interviews and looks at the President’s approval rating by state.  It’s well established that a president’s overall approval rating in October of their re-election year either nails their vote share on the head, or is within at least a point of it.  So, these early state-by-state approval ratings serve as a barometer of where President Obama stands.  As a caution, these data are from the first half of the year — the President’s numbers have dropped since then.  Obviously, his numbers can improve over the next year, particularly if the economy improves.

Like Obama’s numbers with white voters, these data portend a very close race.  In six of the states, he had a higher disapproval rating than approval rating during the first half of the year — Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia.  In North Carolina, his approval rating is dead even — 46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve/46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove.  Only in Iowa (49{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve/42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove) and Florida (47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve/45{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove) is his approval rating still a net positive.

Give all the states where Kerry and 2008 Obama both won back to Obama.  That’s 247 electoral votes (remember, because of the Census, the number of electoral votes for several states has changed since 2008, so Obama’s 2012 base number is not the same as Kerry’s 2004 number.  Give all the states to  the GOP nominee that Bush and McCain both won.  That’s 179 electoral votes.  Obama still has the lead, but he’s not at 270.

Okay, now let’s say that Iowa goes to Obama (he has a 49{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve/42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove for the first half of the year there).  Now he’s at 253 electoral votes (remember, he’s got the Omaha CD EV — that could change, but for now, let’s keep it in Obama’s column).  Let’s give Indiana (42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve/50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove), Colorado (44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve/48{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove), and Nevada (44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve/48{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove) to the Republican.  So, now the GOPer is at 205.  The rest are up for grabs — Florida (29 electoral votes), Ohio (18 EVs), North Carolina (15 EVs), Virginia (13 EVs), New Mexico (5 EVs).  That’s 80 electoral votes that will decide the presidential election.   In these five, Obama’s first half approval/disapproval rating were within +/- two points of each other.  Remember, his approval rating is worse now than in the first half of the year, so he’s likely weakened in some or all of these Big Nine states.

The Republican nominee has to run the table in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and either Virginia or New Mexico to win.  These data makes a compelling case that the Tar Heel state is joining Ohio and Florida as the must-win battlegrounds that will determine the next President of the United States.

* Neil Newhouse had the good idea to have the above map put together.

Similar Articles

  • Impeachment Fever Has Hit House Democrats
    read more

  • Public Opinion Strategies Congratulates Karen Handel on Winning GA-06
    read more

  • The Democrats’ Pivot
    read more

    read more

    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :