Despite his good fortunes with women voters, there some troubling warning signals for President Obama in the Quinnipiac poll out today. The huge problem is that he continues to lose Independent voters.
In February, the Democratic-leaning think tank Third Way chronicled the fight for the so-called “Obama Independents” — who authors Michelle Diggles and Lanae Erickson called the “heart” of the 2012 campaign.
The gist is this:
In 2012, Independents are likely to comprise the highest proportion of the electorate since 1976, and winning them will be crucial to victory. But not all Independents are the same, and the real showdown for 2012 is over who will win the Obama Independents. If President Obama woos the vast majority of them back, he can be reelected. But if he performs among them like Democrats did in 2010, when one-quarter of the Obama Independents voted for a Republican, it’s going to be a long election night.
Barack Obama is losing the Independent vote by 7 percentage points — 46 per cent to 39 per cent. Of course, that doesn’t measure the “Obama Independents,” and a significant chunk — 8 per cent — is still undecided.
But look at the trends from the past few days. They all point to Obama losing support among Independents, the group that handed him the election in 2008. He won 52 per cent of the Independent vote vs. John McCain in the ’08 election.
First, this is a marked shift from the Quinnipiac poll in February. Though that was a theoretical matchup between Obama and Romney because the Republican primaries were very much in full swing, Obama still had a 5-point lead on Romney — 46 to 41 per cent.
That’s a pretty significant 12-point swing with the most important group in the electorate.
Then there’s the first Gallup daily tracking poll, which was among the first to signal the fact that Independents are now flocking to Romney. And a Fox News poll out last week also showed that Obama stands at a 6-point disadvantage to Romney among the Independent bloc.
And a survey performed by the Democratic think tank Third Way found that generally, so-called “swing independents” identify more with Mitt Romney’s ideology. But that survey of the “swing Independents” — about 40 per cent of Independents who will legitimately “swing” between parties in different elections — also found that they would vote for Obama today (44 per cent to 38 per cent).
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