Obama’s “Path To 270” Is Full Of Roadblocks


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RNC RESEARCH BRIEFING
Obama’s "Path To 270" Is Full Of Roadblocks
A Dissection Of The President’s Reelection Strategy
THE OBAMA TEAM HAS LAID OUT FIVE PATHS TO VICTORY IN 2012
Obama Has Set Five Paths To Getting The 270 Electoral Votes He Will Need In Order To Win 2012. " During a briefing for reporters at the DNC yesterday, Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina outlined five paths that would get President Obama to 270 electoral votes. Each starts with Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 map (246 EVs): West Path: Win Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, plus Iowa (272 EVs); Florida Path : Win the Sunshine State (275 EVs); South Path: Win North Carolina and Virginia (274 EVs); Midwest Path : Win Ohio and Iowa (270 EVs); Expansion Path: Win Arizona (272 EVs)." (Mike Allen, Politico’s "Playbook," 12/14/11)

David Axelrod Says The 2012 Campaign Is Characterized By A "Hopeful Vision" "But It’s Hard To See How Voters Are Going To See Any Hope At All." "The briefing suggested a pretty rough campaign. When Axelrod was asked whether there were any vestiges of hope left over from the 2008 campaign, he said that the focus on fairness was in the same vein: ‘It is a hopeful vision of the future of broad prosperity.’ But it’s hard to see how voters are going to see any hope at all." (John Dickerson, "Obama’s Victory Plan," Slate, 12/13/11)
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE OBAMA STRATEGY REVEALS ITS FLAWS
"Florida Path"
STRATEGY: "1. Florida Path: If Obama Wins The 29 Electoral Votes In Florida, He’s At 275 And A Winner." (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, "How President Obama Gets To 270," Washington Post, 12/14/11)
ROADBLOCK: Florida Voters "Continue To Sour" On Obama. "While he carried Florida in 2008, voters in the Sunshine State, which continues to have a higher unemployment rate than the national average during the Obama administration, continue to sour on the president." (Kevin Derby, "Obama’s Feeling The Heat In Florida," Sunshine State News, 12/8/11) 54 Percent Of Florida Voters Say They Disapprove Of The Job Obama Is Doing As President, Compared To 41 Percent Who Say They Disapprove. (Quinnipiac University Polling, 1,226 RV, MoE 2.8% 11/28 – 12/5/11)

  • 51 Percent Of Florida Voters Say That Obama Does Not Deserve Reelection, Compared To 44 Percent Who Say He Does Deserve It. (Quinnipiac University Polling, 1,226 RV, MoE 2.8% 11/28 – 12/5/11)
  • 48 Percent Of Florida Voters Say They Have An Unfavorable Opinion Of Obama While 47 Percent Say They Have A Favorable Opinion Of Him. ( Quinnipiac University Polling, 1,226 RV, MoE 2.8% 11/28 – 12/5/11)

Just 22 Percent Of Florida Voters Say They Are Satisfied With The Direction The Country Is Headed, With 3 Percent Saying "Very Satisfied" And 19 Percent Saying "Somewhat Satisfied." (Quinnipiac University Polling, 1,226 RV, MoE 2.8% 11/28 – 12/5/11)
"West Path"
STRATEGY: "2. West Path: This Scenario Requires Obama To Sweep Colorado, New Mexico And Nevada And Then Also Take Iowa, Where He Won Overwhelmingly In 2008 But Kerry Lost Narrowly In 2004." (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, "How President Obama Gets To 270," Washington Post, 12/14/11)
ROADBLOCK: Among Voters In Colorado, Nevada And New Mexico, Just 42 Percent Approve Of Obama, Compared To 53 Percent Who Say They Disapprove. (Purple State Poll , 1436 LV, MoE 2.6%, 11/13 – 17/11)

  • Only 22 Percent Of Colorado, Nevada, And New Mexico Voters Say The Country Is Headed In The Right Direction, Compared To 69 Percent Who Say It’s On The Wrong Track.( Purple State Poll, 1436 LV, MoE 2.6%, 11/13 – 17/11)


"Midwest Path"

STRATEGY: "3. Midwest Path: The Industrial Midwest Has Turned Against Democrats In A Major Way Since Obama Carried Every State In The So-Called Rust Belt Three Years Ago." (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, "How President Obama Gets To 270," Washington Post, 12/14/11)

  • But Obama’s Midwest Path Gives Him The Slightest Win Possible. "But, if Obama wins only Ohio and Iowa, he’s at 270 electoral votes and a winner — albeit by the thinnest margin possible." (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, "How President Obama Gets To 270," Washington Post, 12/14/11)

ROADBLOCK: Ohio Voters Aren’t Sold On Obama
If The Election Is A Referendum On Obama, Ohio "Will Be Tough." "Still, if this is an economic referendum on Obama nationwide, winning Ohio — which had 9 percent unemployment in October — will be tough." (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, "How President Obama Gets To 270," Washington Post , 12/14/11)
55 Percent Of Ohio Voters Say They Disapprove Of Obama’s Job Performance, Compared To 41 Percent Who Say They Approve. ( Quinnipiac University Polling, 1,437 RV, MoE 2.6%, 11/28 – 12/5/11)

  • 53 Percent Of Ohio Voters Say That Obama Does Not Deserve Reelection, Compared To 42 Percent Who Say He Deserves It. (Quinnipiac University Polling, 1,437 RV, MoE 2.6%, 11/28 – 12/5/11)
  • Only 42 Percent Of Ohio Voters Say They Have A Favorable Opinion Of Obama, Compared To 52 Percent Who Say They Have An Unfavorable Opinion. (Quinnipiac University Polling, 1,437 RV, MoE 2.6%, 11/28 – 12/5/11)


Just 19 Percent Of Ohio Voters Say They Are Satisfied With The Direction The Country Is Headed, With 2 Percent Saying "Very Satisfied" And 17 Percent Saying "Somewhat Satisfied."
( Quinnipiac University Polling, 1,437 RV, MoE 2.6%, 11/28 – 12/5/11)
ROADBLOCK: And Neither Are Iowa Voters
Just 43 Percent Of Iowans Say They Approve Of Obama’s Job Performance, Compared To 46 Percent Who Say They Disapprove. (NBC News/Marist Poll, 1,393 RV, MoE 2.6%, 11/27 – 11/29/11)

  • Among Independent Iowa Voters, Just 35 Percent Approve Of Obama’s Job Performance, Compared To 47 Percent Who Disapprove.( NBC News/Marist Poll, 1,393 RV, MoE 2.6%, 11/27 – 11/29/11)

"South Path"
STRATEGY: "4. South Path: In 2008, Obama Was The First Democrat To Carry North Carolina Since 1976 And To Win In Virginia Since 1964. If He Repeats That Feat In 2012, He Gets To 274 Electoral Votes." (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, "How President Obama Gets To 270," Washington Post, 12/14/11)
ROADBLOCK: Southern Voters Aren’t Giving Any Praise To The President
"Virginia And North Carolina, Key To Obama’s Victories In 2008, Are Becoming More And More Uncertain." (Glenn Thrush, "Ohio Back On Obama’s Dance Card," Politico, 11/10/11)

50 Percent Of North Carolina Voters Say They Disapprove Of Obama’s Job Performance Compar ed To 47 Percent Who Say They Approve. (Public Policy Polling, 865 RV, MoE 3.3%, 12/1 – 4/11)
· Among Independent Voters, Just 43 Percent Say They Approve Of Obama’s Job Performance While 51 Percent Say They Disapprove. (Public Policy Polling, 865 RV, MoE 3.3%, 12/1 – 4/11)

Only 43 Percent Of Voters In Virginia, North Carolina And Florida Say They Approve Of Obama, Compared To 51 Percent Who Say They Disapprove. (Purple State Poll, 1436 LV, MoE 2.6%, 11/13 – 17/11)

  • 20 Percent Of Voters In Virginia, North Carolina And Florida Say the Country Is Headed In The Right Direction, Compared To 73 Percent Who Say It’s On The Wrong Track. (Purple State Poll, 1436 LV, MoE 2.6%, 11/13 – 17/11)

"Expansion Path"

STRATEGY: "5. Expansion Path: Three Years Ago, Democrats Were Confident That They Would Have Won Arizona Had Republicans Not Nominated Homestate Sen. John McCain." (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, "How President Obama Gets To 270," Washington Post, 12/14/11)

  • "But To Win In Arizona, Obama Needs To Figure Out How To Win Over Some Significant Chunk Of The White Vote. And That Seems Very Unlikely At The Moment." (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, "How President Obama Gets To 270," Washington Post , 12/14/11)

ROADBLOCK: Arizona Is "Openly Hostile" To Obama
An "Openly Hostile Environment" Gives Obama "Little Chance Of Winning Arizona." "Given the openly hostile environment, Mr. Obama would seem to have little chance of winning Arizona’s 11 electoral votes in 2012 or even the incentive to make much of an effort here." (Helene Cooper, "Obama To Vie For Arizona As Latino Numbers Rise," The New York Times, 12/1/11)
"Obama’s Arizona Approval Rating Is Only 41% With 54% Of Voters Disapproving Of Him." ("Obama Unpopular In Arizona," Public Policy Polling, 11/28/11)

  • "Obama’s Seen A Fair Amount Of Erosion Of His Numbers In The State Since Early May, When His Approval Came Down At A 46/50 Spread." ("Obama Unpopular In Arizona," Public Policy Polling , 11/28/11)
  • Obama’s Approval Among Independents Is "Pretty Bad" At Only 35 Percent, With 57 Percent Disapproving. "A higher than normal 22% of Democrats disapprove of the job he’s doing, and with independents he’s at a pretty bad 35/57 spread." ("Obama Unpopular In Arizona," Public Policy Polling , 11/28/11)

Arizona State University Professor Bruce Merrill: If The Election Were Held Today, "Obama Would Lose Handily." "Campaign experts still consider Arizona a long shot for Mr. Obama. If the election were held today, ‘Obama would lose handily,’ said Bruce Merrill, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University." (Helene Cooper, "Obama To Vie For Arizona As Latino Numbers Rise," The New York Time s, 12/1/11)
"But Just As About Everywhere Else, Voters Have Soured On Obama Over The Course Of This Year." ("Romney Leads Obama Almost As Much As McCain In AZ," Public Policy Polling , 11/28/11)
MORE TROUBLING, OBAMA’S PATH DOESN’T GIVE HIM ANY ROOM FOR LOSSES
Obama’s Path To Victory Does Not Allow Him To Lose Any States He And Kerry Carried In 2004 And 2008, Including Wisconsin And New Hampshire. "That means that Obama could lose none of the states he and Kerry carried in 2004 and 2008 — including swing states like New Hampshire and Wisconsin — and have the numbers add up. The paths are ranked from most likely to least likely for Obama." (Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake, "How President Obama Gets To 270," Washington Post, 12/14/11)
ROADBLOCK: Obama Doesn’t Have New Hampshire On His Side
"Although Obama Won New Hampshire In 2008 With 54 Percent Of The Vote, His Victory Is Not Assured This Time." (Shira Schoenberg, "While N.H. Eyes On GOP Candidates, Obama And Democrats Work Quietly,"The Boston Globe, 11/10/11)
In New Hampshire, 14.6 Percent Or 38,408 Registered Democrats Have Abandoned The Party Since 2008. (Michelle Diggles And Lanae Erickson, "Independents Day 2012," Third Way, 12/6/11)

Just 40 Percent Of New Hampshire Voters Say They Approve Of Obama’s Job Performance, Compared To 52 Percent Who Say They Disa pprove.
(NBC News/Marist Poll, 2,263 RV, MoE 2.1%, 11/28 – 11/30/11)

  • Among Independents, 40 Percent Say They Approve Of Obama’s Job Performance. ( NBC News/Marist Poll, 2,263 RV, MoE 2.1%, 11/28 – 11/30/11)

ROADBLOCK: And Wisconsin Voters Aren’t Giving Obama A Win
Just 42 Percent Of Iowa, Minnesota, And Wisconsin Voters Say They Approve Of Obama, Compared To 50 Percent Who Say They Disapprove. (Purple State Poll, 1436 LV, MoE 2.6%, 11/13 – 17/11)

  • Among Iowa, Minnesota And Wisconsin Voters, Just 20 Percent Say The Country Is Headed In The Right Direction, Compared To 70 Percent Who Say It’s On The Wrong Track.(Purple State Poll, 1436 LV, MoE 2.6%, 11/13 – 17/11)

AND VOTERS IN STATES ON OBAMA’S "PATH TO 270" ARE RUNNING FROM THE DEMOCRAT PARTY
"President Obama Is Moving To Energize The Democratic Base For His Re-Election Campaign, But In The Case Of A Dozen Battleground States, He’ll Have To Work Harder Than Four Years Ago To Find It." (Susan Page, "Swing States Poll: Downbeat Dems, Resurgent Republicans" USA Today, 12/13/11)
The Number Of Swing State Voters Who Identify Themselves As Democrats Has Dropped 4 Percentage Points, "While The Ranks Of Republicans Have Climbed By 5 Points ." "Since the heady days of 2008, a new USA TODAY/Gallup Swing States Poll finds the number of voters who identify themselves as Democratic or Democratic-leaning in these key states has eroded, down by 4 percentage points, while the ranks of Republicans have climbed by 5 points. Republican voters also are more attentive to the campaign, more enthusiastic about the election and more convinced that the outcome matters." (Susan Page, "Swing States Poll: Downbeat Dems, Resurgent Republicans" USA Today, 12/13/11)
In 2008, Obama Carried Swing States By 8 Percentage Points, "Democrats Swamped Republicans" By 11 Points And Today That Edge Has "Tightened To A Statistically Insignificant 2 Points." "The contrasting conditions of the nation’s two major political parties — discouraged Democrats and resurgent Republicans — underscore how different Obama’s re-election campaign is from the contest four years ago. Consider the math: In 2008, when Obama carried the swing states by 8 percentage points, Democrats there swamped Republicans in party identification by 11 points. Now, that partisan edge has tightened to a statistically insignificant 2 points." (Susan Page, "Swing States Poll: Downbeat Dems, Resurgent Republicans"USA Today , 12/13/11)
"And The ‘Enthusiasm Gap’ That Helped Fuel A Democratic Victory Last Time Has Turned Into A Republican Asset." (Susan Page, "Swing States Poll: Downbeat Dems, Resurgent Republicans" USA Today, 12/13/11)

  • 61 Percent Of Republicans Say They Are Enthusiastic About Voting For President In 2012, Compared To Just 47 Percent Of Democrats. "Sixty-one percent of Republicans say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for president next year, compared with 47% of Democrats." (Susan Page, "Swing States Poll: Downbeat Dems, Resurgent Republicans"USA Today, 12/13/11)
  • Among The Least Enthused Voters, "Core Democratic Groups That Were Critical To Obama’s Election In 2008, Including Minorities And Younger Voters." "Among the most enthusiastic are some of the GOP’s core voters: conservatives, middle-aged men and those 50 to 64 years old. Those who are least enthused include core Democratic groups that were critical to Obama’s election in 2008, including minorities and younger voters." (Susan Page, "Swing States Poll: Downbeat Dems, Resurgent Republicans"USA Today , 12/13/11)

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December 16, 2011
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