Obama's Support Collapses In Rust-Belt Ohio

The weak economy — or, more importantly, the failure to create jobs quickly — is flensing Barack Obama’s support on Ohio, a crucial electoral state.

Here’s the announcement from Quinnipiac, which conducted the poll:

President Barack Obama gets a lackluster 49 – 44 per cent approval rating in Ohio, considered by many to be the most important swing state in a presidential election, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. This is President Obama’s lowest approval rating in any national or statewide Quinnipiac University poll since he was inaugurated and is down from 62 – 31 per cent in a May 6 survey.

By a small 48 – 46 per cent margin, voters disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. This is down from a 57 – 36 per cent approval May 6. A total of 66 per cent of Ohio voters are “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the way things are going in the state, while 33 per cent are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied,” numbers that haven’t changed since Obama was elected.

It’s numbers like these, even more than bad economic data, that will really get Democrats to rally around a second stimulus, one that’s especially focused on creating blue-collar jobs ASAP. Ed Rendell, who’s home state of Pennsylvania shares characteristics with Ohio, was on CNBC this morning saying exactly that: This time, let’s do that infrastructure stuff.

Nate Silver is a little sceptical, but even he concedes voters are judging Obama on the bad economy:

Ohio, of course, has suffered more than most states from the recession. It’s employment rate, at 10.8 per cent in May, is the eighth-highest in the nation, and has increased by 3.5 points (and counting) since Election Day:

States with Largest Increases in Unemployment Rate since November

What Ohio hasn’t done, though, is suffer uniquely from the recession. It doesn’t have it nearly as bad as its neighbour, my native state of Michigan, where unemployment is now at 14.1 per cent. And what are Obama’s approval ratings like in Michigan?

Not so bad. A Rasmussen poll in mid-June put Obama’s approval there at 59-39, including 39 per cent strongly approving (and remember, Rasmussen has tended to have very bearish numbers on Obama overall). An EPIC-MRA poll of Michigan in late May, meanwhile, had 61 per cent rating his job performance as “excellent” or “pretty good”.

The point is not that Obama’s approval ratings aren’t suffering because of the economy, nor that they might not be suffering more in states where the economy is worse. (Whoa, too many double-negatives there). I just doubt that there any problems Obama has that are so unique to Ohio that you wouldn’t also see them manifested in Michigan or Pennsylvania (where Obama’s approval numbers have also generally been fine). As such, I think the headlines this poll has generated have been a little overwritten.

Given Obama’s support for the auto industry, the Michigan numbers may be inflated a bit. We’d be really curious about Indiana, a traditionally red state that went blue.

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