Nevada independents sour on Obama, favor Romney

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Nevada voters are not pleased with any of the possible Republican 2012 presidential candidates, but they’re not pleased with President Obama either. A Nevada Public Policy Polling poll released Wednesday finds that Obama’s approval rating has dropped, but most devastatingly for the sitting president, it has declined among independent voters, a majority of whom would vote for the provided Republican candidate instead of Obama, unless that candidate was Sarah Palin.

Obama’s approval rating in Nevada is 45 percent, with 52 percent disapproving. That’s in line with most Republican candidates that PPP polled – Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, and Sarah Palin – all of whom have upside down approval ratings. The one exception is Romney, who breaks even at 43 percent favorable and 43 percent unfavorable.

Most hated among Nevada voters are Palin and Trump, who each have about a 60 percent disapproval rating. If either were to receive the Republican nomination, it would help Obama in this state: they are the only two candidates the president soundly beats in a head-to-head match up. The president loses to Romney, and edges out Huckabee and Gingrich by only a few points.

Among independents, however, Obama lags behind all polled Republican candidates, including Sarah Palin, who beats him by 2 percentage points. Romney trounces Obama among these voters, 58 percent to 27 percent.

Nevada is the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country; at 13.2 percent, unemployment in the Silver State is a full 4 points above the national unemployment rate, so discontent with the sitting president is unsurprising. This focus on the economy could explain Romney’s popularity.

The poll of Nevada voters has a fairly small sample size – 490 voters – and a fairly high margin of error of 4.4 percent.