Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Polling the President—June 2012

It’s that time again. Time for my monthly look at President Barack Obama’s (D-USA) polling figures.

As always, I’ll start with the RealClearPolitics averages. Today, his approval/disapproval number stands at 48.3/47.5. Last month, he was +0.6, today he’s +0.8. That counts as statistical noise, but does include a rather bizarre +9 poll from Bloomberg. Exclude that poll, and it’s a bit of a dip from last month. We’ll see where things stand next month. This is almost exactly where he stood one year ago. But one year ago was the start of a summer swoon for the President. Two years ago the same happened. A third summer of discontent will send the campaign into a panic.

Right Track/Wrong Track contains considerably less good news for the President. Last month the spread was –24.7. Today, the numbers are 31.3/61.5, which is a –30.2 spread. We’re approaching 2:1 on people thinking we’re headed the wrong direction. Those are dismal numbers for a President seeking re-election.

Next, I move on to the Consumer Confidence Index from The Conference Board. Consumer confidence continues to fall. It dropped from 64.4 in May to 62.0 in June. Again, as I keep saying, the only good news here is that these numbers are better than the mid 40 numbers we were seeing last summer. But we’re headed in that direction again. So far there’s little reason to suspect that the July numbers will be any better than June, but they may not be much worse either. Next Friday’s BLS report may give us the biggest indicator as to where consumer confidence will be headed.

Now, on to General Election numbers. The polling average for former Governor Mitt Romney (R-MA) vs. President Barack Obama (D-USA) are as follows: Obama 46.8, Romney 44.2. Both numbers are higher than last month, and the spread for Obama has increased from 2.0 to 2.6. This is one area where things have gotten a bit better for Obama. And this is the most important average of the bunch. However, this includes a +13 Bloomberg poll. Excluding the Bloomberg poll yields an average spread of 1.3, down pretty markedly from last month. If Bloomberg releases another poll like this next month that is such a significant outlier, I will exclude it from my numbers. For now, though, it stays in.

In addition, the daily tracking polls are looking bad for the President. Romney has led in Rasmussen’s poll for the last 18 straight days. In Gallup, Romney has only trailed one day out of the last 12. You’d have to be an incredible optimist to think this qualifies as good news for the President.

While I personally think that in the end, things will go Romney’s way, the polling hasn’t shifted in his direction as much as I’d expected. But June definitely shows a shift in Romney’s favor. I have been pointing out for several months that the polling numbers were a mixed bag for the President. That is not true this month. The only one that’s not bad news is the General Election average. And the only reason it’s not bad news is the Bloomberg outlier.

Just last month, I said that based upon current polls, I’d give Obama a slight edge in November. That’s been true for several months. I’m officially shifting that to “toss up” as of now. July may be the turning point in the campaign. Either Romney’s momentum fades, or he capitalizes on it, and starts to look like a favorite. A July fade for either campaign will stack the odds heavily against them.

Starting next month, I’ll include some head-to-head numbers in battleground states. Right now, these are the only bright spots for Obama. But just like everywhere else, the trend is in the wrong direction. I will likely do two updates each in July and August, then go to weekly ones starting in September.

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