Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Analysis of the Quinnipiac Battleground Poll March 28, 2012

The latest Quinnipiac University Poll in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania included some interesting bits of info that the media did not cover.  Sure the MSM was all about telling us how President Obama is leading all of the GOP rivals in all three states, but it is important to drill down deeper into the demographics and results.  Let’s get started:
Demographics
·         Florida: 1,228 respondents , margin of error +/- 2.8%

o   71% white

o   Balanced split amongst D, R, I

o   Balanced split between college degree and not

o   Plurality (47%) over 65 years old

o   Plurality earning 50-100k

o   53% are women

·         Ohio: 1,246 respondents, margin of error +/- 2.8%

o   83% white

o   Balanced split amongst D, R, I

o   56% with no college degree

o   Plurality (41%) over 65 years old

o   Plurality earning 50-100k

o   53% are women

·         Pennsylvania: 1,232 respondents, margin of error +/- 2.8%

o   86% white

o   37% D, 34% R, 25% I, 4% N/A

o   55% with no college degree

o   53% women

o   Plurality earning 50-100k

o   Plurality (37%) over 65 years old
Results: Romney and Obama
For the sake of argument, I have only included results involving Romney, Obama, and general questions.  President Obama leads Romney in all three states:

·         Florida: Obama 49-42

·         Ohio: 47-41

·         Pennsylvania: 45-42

Romney’s net favorable numbers range from (-7) in Ohio to (+5) in Florida.  These results correlate with his victory margins in the two states during the primary campaign and may indicate that he is more popular with older more educated people.  The other remarkable thing about Romney’s numbers is the high percentages that answered “haven’t heard enough” which was FL (19%), OH (19%), and PA (22%).  The fact that primaries have already been held in Florida and Ohio, I can only attribute these high “haven’t heard enough” numbers to Democrats and Independents who tuned out the GOP campaigns earlier this year.  If that’s the case, it is quite likely, Romney’s unfavorables could rise even higher.

President Obama’s net favorability numbers are FL (+7), OH (+3), and PA (+2) all with very low “haven’t heard enough” numbers.  These numbers have been trending in the right direction for the President, but due to the relative partisanship in this country, it will be important for President Obama to climb over and stay above 50% favorable.

Results: Dems v. Reps
The news is not good for Republicans in the comparable approval/disapproval numbers.  In all three states the Republican favorability numbers are badly negative: FL (-11%), OH (-12%), and PA (-7%) while the Democrats are hovering neutral in all three states.  This may have impacts on some state  and congressional elections as well.  Also worth noting is the across the board double digit lead Democrats enjoy over Republicans on all social issues including women’s healthcare to abortion in all three states.
A strange result is in the approval ratings for the Republican governors  in all the three states.  Florida’s Rick Scott is at (-16%), Ohio’s Kasich is at (0%), and Pennsylvania’s Corbett is at (+3%).  What is equally strange is that 22% of the Pennsylvania respondents answered don’t know or no answer.  How can you not know how your governor is doing?
Results: President Obama
These battleground states are indicators of how perilous President Obama’s situation could become in November.  In all three states his approval rating is slightly negative to (-5%) in PA, while the question of whether he deserves to be re-elected is slightly positive to slightly negative.  The President fares the worse in PA, but perhaps that will change when the GOP primary campaign hits Pennsylvania in April and the mud starts flying.

The Participants
Simple answer: jobs and the economy are clearly the most important issue to all voters.  Afghanistan and social issues are considered important, but not nearly as important as the economy and the deficit.  Another word of warning to the President, a candidate’s position on the Healthcare Reform Act is very important to voters as well.  In places like Pennsylvania, this could be his Achilles heel.

Also worth noting, the participants assign the majority of blame to the oil companies and oil companies with respect to increasing gas prices.  President Obama is a distant third followed by supply and demand.  Perhaps this won’t be as big a factor as some pundits are portraying.

Conclusions
While social issues are not considered major issues, they could be enough to swing critical female voters who are breaking for President Obama right now.  Also, the white demographic is overly represented in this poll as is the >65 years old demographics; both of these are NOT part of President Obama’s base.  Finally, reversing negative approval numbers is a long difficult process and it is here that Romney and his fellow Republicans could face difficulties this November.  People don’t vote for people they don’t like.

Like I always say, Election Day is really 51 different elections and history tells us that the winner needs to carry 2 out of these 3 battleground states.  For the record, I believe President Obama will carry all three states.

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