Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 Iowa caucuses helped convince Democratic primary voters that he was a viable candidate for the presidency. Eleven months later, his general election victory over McCain in Iowa, which voted for George W. Bush in 2004, helped get him to where he is today.
And where is Obama today? A new poll by the Tarrance Group, a well regarded Republican polling firm, shows that more than half of all Iowa voters disapprove of the president’s job performance. Most threatening to the president’s re-election bid is that that number skyrockets to 61% among independents, a key constituency in the coalition that elected Obama to office.
Next week, after Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll, Obama will visit Iowa to do damage control. He has his work cut out for him: what remains of the president’s approval rating is sure to take a beating over the next few months, as GOP candidates continue to march back and forth across the state denouncing his policies.
Those efforts have already begun to achieve their goal. Of the 52% of Iowa voters who disapprove of Obama’s performance, all but 6% “strongly disapprove”—indicating that Iowans’ antipathy for the president they elected in 2008 may not disappear with the Republican candidates in January, but could be there to stay.