Hate Turns to Respect, But Not Enough Votes

A new post-debate debacle PPP poll is out in Virginia.  It shows Obama up by 3, 50-47%, down from 51-46% in the middle of September.

Mitt’s favorables have increased 10% since their last poll, from -2% to +8%.

PPP says, “Much of the improvement in Romney’s image is people going from hating Romney and voting for Obama to respecting Romney but still voting for Obama.”

I don’t care if the respect increases as long as the votes don’t.  Respect doesn’t count in the electoral college.

But now the burden is clearly on Obama to perform well for the rest of the campaign.  He can’t afford another false move.

Mitt May Be a Republican, But He Has Mondale’s Popularity (or Lack Thereof)

A new ABC/WaPo poll finds that Mitt is the most unpopular presidential nominee since 1984.  We didn’t have a President Mondale, and I don’t believe we are going to have a President Romney either.

Mitt’s favorables are upside down, with 40% favorable, 51% unfavorable.

President Obama’s favorables are not great, but they are right side up — 50% favorable, 47% unfavorable.  50% favorable is traditionally considered the minimum number needed for re-election.

Enjoy your convention, GOP-ers, y’all aren’t going to have an inauguration.

Favorability or Job Approval?

From “Why Obama May Be Stronger Than His Approval Ratings,” Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight:

“Right now, the Real Clear Politics average shows 50.6 percent of Americans with a favorable view of Mr. Obama, versus 45.1 percent with an unfavorable one. That contrasts with his approval ratings, which now show 46.8 percent as approving his job performance and 48.7 percent as disapproving it.

“In other words, there is a small slice of the electorate, about 4 percent, that has a favorable view of Mr. Obama, but does not approve of his job performance. Given how close the election is, the way they behave in November could be decisive. If the election is a referendum on Mr. Obama based on his approval ratings, it’s going to be very close. He may be a slight underdog, especially since some of the approval ratings polls are of adults or registered voters, which are generally a point or two more favorable to the Democratic candidate than those of likely voters. However, if it’s a referendum based on Mr. Obama’s favorability ratings, his net-positive score (plus 5.5) makes him look like the favorite.

“Is there evidence on whether approval ratings or favorability ratings are a better indicator of a president’s re-election chances? Actually, there’s not very much of it. Favorability ratings have received much less academic study than approval ratings.

“If you take an average of Mr. Obama’s approval ratings and his favorability ratings right now, based on the Real Clear Politics numbers, you will get a positive rating (approve or favorable) from 48.7 percent of voters, and a negative one (disapprove or unfavorable) from 46.9 percent.

“The net rating — plus 1.8 percent — almost exactly matches his current standing against Mr. Romney.  The Real Clear Politics average of head-to-head polls has Mr. Obama with a 2-point lead on Mr. Romney, while our ‘now-cast’ (which is based only on the polls and does not look at economic factors) has Mr Obama projected to a 2.1-point lead.”  Emphasis added.

I think this is where the GOP is shooting itself in the foot by nominating Mitt.  If they had a nominee with high favorability, that would make Obama’s favorability less important, since voters would find both candidates likeable, and make Obama’s lower job approval more decisive.

The 15% Who Will Decide the Election

Forget the 1%, forget the 99%, focus on the 15%.  Your future is in their hands.

Of those who say they are Independents, about 60% lean toward one of the parties.  The remaining 40% are true “swing voters,” and they are only about 15% of voters.  They will decide who wins in November.

President Obama won 57% of these swing voters last time.  A new poll from Global Strategy Group shows that he currently leads Mitt among them, 44 to 38%.*

What’s especially interesting is that these voters see themselves as closer to Mitt ideologically, but they like Obama better.

Asked to place themselves on a scale of one to nine, with one as liberal, nine as conservative, and five as moderate, the swing voters’ average was 5.2, while they put Mitt at 6.1 and Obama at 3.9.  This would seem to bode well for Mitt.

But 57% of them gave Obama a favorable rating, compared to only 41% for Mitt.

Voting is ultimately an emotional decision.  If Mitt can’t get his favorables up, he will lose.

* “Obama leads among ‘swing’ indies,” James Hohmann, Politico