Swing voters have turned against Obama, says new poll

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

A new poll shows that non-ideological swing voters have walked away from President Barack Obama, which could sharply reduce his political influence and power.

“The President no longer has a reservoir of personal goodwill that he can use to turn around dissatisfaction about his job performance,” say GOP pollsters Ed Goeas and Brian Nienaber, who helped craft the poll of 1,000 likely voters.

“This cripples his ability to use the powers and visibility of the Presidency to move his agenda… over-exposure of the President [in speeches and rallies] becomes much more of a tightrope for the message managers in the West Wing of the White House,” the GOP analysts concluded.

Sixty percent of swing voters have an unfavorable image of Obama, while only 36 percent of them have a favorable view, says the George Washington University Battleground Poll, which was released Nov. 4.

Overall, 50 percent of respondents have an unfavorable view, while 48 percent have a favorable view, the poll reported.

Forty-five percent of respondents approved of Obama’s job performance, which is a consistent with polls going back to late 2011. That number shows only a small slice of the electorate outside the Democratic base is pleased with Obama’s work.

The Democratic pollsters who developed the poll, however, predict the public’s disgust at Washington will hurt the GOP incumbents in 2014. “The political center — self‐described ‘moderates’ —… [put] the blame even more squarely on the Republicans (50% to 26% for Obama and the Democrats),” reported Celinda Lake, Daniel Gotoff, and Alex Dunn.

“This  bodes especially poorly for the GOP effort to rehabilitate its image after a decisive defeat in the 2012 elections,” they declared. “The main targets of its [post-2012] rebranding efforts, the so‐called Rising American Electorate, rejects the  shutdown unreservedly a and is quite clear about the Party responsible: young voters (under 30) blame  the GOP over Obama and the Democrats, 60% to 23%; Latinos, 58% to 26%; and unmarried women, 62% to 27%,” they concluded.

The “Rising American Electorate” consists of single women — including many with children — that are dependent on government, plus the wave of Latino youths created by the large scale legal and illegal immigration that was supported by the GOP’s business wing in the 1990s and 2000s.

The “rebranding” effort is led by the GOP’s establishment wing, whose business backers wants increased immigration of Latino workers. The GOP’s populist wing, however, want the party to focus on voters’ pocketbook issues. For example, reduced immigration will led to higher wages and greater political support for the GOP from struggling Americans, regardless of color, says GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions.

The poll showed that the percentage of people who believe the country is on the wrong track has spiked to 73 percent, up from the mid-50s throughout most of 2013. Only 19 percent of people believe the county is on the right track, said the poll.

Only 26 percent of respondents say their member of Congress deserves reelection, says the poll, but 39 percent say they approve of their local Congress-member.

However, another question showed that the budget impasse made little difference to voting intentions. Twenty-two percent said the fight made them more likely to back their legislators, while 27 percent said it made them less likely to back their legislators. Forty-seven percent said it would have no impact on their voting.

Forty-one percent say they’ll vote GOP, 44 percent report they’ll back a Democratic candidate.

“The political damage caused by the government shutdown — an event some pundits indicated might inflict long term catastrophic harm to the GOP — has already eased with the events of the past several weeks with the roll-out of Obamacare,” the GOP analysts say.

Fifty-three percent oppose Obamacare, 43 percent support it, according to the survey.

“In contrast, voters have a remarkable level of anxiety about two issues that the President owns — the national economy and Obamacare,” say the GOP authors. In 2014, “Democrats will be on defense on health care and on the economy, Republicans will be able to be on offense on the pocketbook issues that matter to voters,” they conclude.

Follow Neil on Twitter