Western States Update: GOP Back on Top

By Nicole McCleskey

The December NBC/Wall Street Journal survey confirmed a year-long trend of voters moving away from President Obama and The Democratic Party, setting the stage for what promises to be an exciting election year out West.

Retirements this week prompted me to once again look at the data out West. While the trends nationally are positive for the GOP, these trends are even better in Western States. Bill Ritter and Byron Dorgan were definitely feeling the heat of a resurgent GOP.

Let’s take a brief look at some of the key numbers:

  • The Republican Party now enjoys a better image rating than the Democratic Party in Western states. You might have to read the previous sentence again. While the image of the GOP is not really much to crow about (27% positive and 44% negative), the Democrats are in a worse position perceptually – 29% view the party favorably and 53% view the Democratic Party negatively.
  • Republican – 47% GOP/36% Dem. Nationally, it’s a one-point Democrat advantage on the generic ballot (37% GOP/38% Dem). We have closed the gap nationally with big help from voters in the West.
  • And, 54% of voters say they are less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who has supported Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s issue positions over ninety percent of the time (watch out Martin Heinrich!)
  • President Obama’s job approval numbers have plummeted in the West. A majority of voters (53%) in Western states disapprove of the job he’s doing while 45% approve. Compare this to the 100-day mark in his term when Obama’s job approval in the West was 59% approve/33% disapprove.
  • Obama’s numbers in the West are worse than they are nationally – 47% approve/46% disapprove. The seeds of discontent are running deep in the West.

Western voters were hood-winked in 2008 by Democrats. But in a year’s time, Democrats have shown their true colors … and they are not wearing well in the West.


NOTE: For the purposes of this analysis, we have not included California in the group of Western states. Western states include: AZ, CO, ID, NV, NM, ND, OR, SD, UT, WY, WA.

Public Opinion Strategies