Political Report, December 2011

Christopher Dilts/Obama for America

Obama campaigns at a White House Town Hall in Atkinson, Illinois August 17, 2011

Article Highlights

  • POLLS: How does Obama stack up against recent incumbents?

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  • Obama's approval remains below 60% in "Blue Wall" states except for DC

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  • In only one of the competitive purple states is Obama's approval at 50%

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In the latest Political Report, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) public opinion expert Karlyn Bowman and researcher Andrew Rugg look at how President Obama does in the key swing states, how he stacks up against other presidents, the state of early states, and reflections on Iraq.

Political Report, December 2011

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  • OBAMA vs. PAST PRESIDENTS: We update our in-depth comparison of President Obama and recent incumbent presidents. How does Obama stack up in terms of approval, national satisfaction, and consumer confidence?
    • 12% are currently satisfied with the way things are going in the country. In 1979, under Carter, 19% gave the same response.

    • 42% approve of President Obama job performance. In 1991, 52% approved of George H.W. Bush's job performance.


  • SWING STATES: Since 1992, nine "purple states" have gone back and forth. How is President Obama faring in those states now?

    • Obama is under 50% in eight of these states: Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. In New Mexico, Obama is currently polling at exactly 50%.

  • EARLY STATES: Bowman takes a close look at the five early primary and caucus states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and Nevada), including highlights from 2008 exit and entrance polls of Republican primary or caucus voters. Highlights:
    •  Iowa: 33 percent said immigration was the top issue facing the country, followed by the economy at 26 percent.

    •  New Hampshire: 50 percent said they had a gun in their household.

    • South Carolina: 93 percent attended religious services weekly or occasionally.

    • Florida: 64 percent said they lived in the suburbs.

    • Nevada: 26 percent were Mormon.


Karlyn Bowman is an AEI senior fellow and public opinion expert. She can be reached at [email protected] or 202.862.5917, or by contacting [email protected] or 202.862.5917.

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Jennifer K.
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