Terrible poll results for Obama and Senate Dems

Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal is reporting on the findings of a new poll, the 20th quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll conducted by the Strategic Communications Practice of FTI Consulting, and it looks very grim for Senate Democrats. The entire poll, including internals, is yet to be published, but the summary offered today should alarm Dems and delight Repubs. Some highlights:

  • Obama's overall approval, standing at just 41 percent, remains near the lowest level ever recorded in the 20 Heartland Monitor Polls since April 2009. And only one in four adults say his actions are increasing economic opportunity for people like them, also among his worst showings in the polls. His numbers are especially meager among the non-college and older whites that dominate the electorate in the seven red-leaning states where Democrats must defend Senate seats in November.
There is further evidence of the nation’s racial divide that has been so seriously aggravated by Obama:

  • Just 27 percent of those polled said they believed the country is moving in the right direction; 62 percent say they consider it off on the wrong track. That's slightly better than the results last fall, but much gloomier than the assessment around Obama's reelection in fall 2012. The racial gap on this question is huge: 41 percent of minorities say the country is moving in the right direction, but only about half as many whites (22 percent) agree. (Among whites without a college degree, just one in six see the country moving on the right track, only about half the level among whites with at least a four-year degree.) (snip) 40 percent of non-white respondents said Obama's agenda would increase their opportunities, compared to 24 percent who believe it will reduce them. But among whites, just 19 percent say he is increasing their chances, while a resounding 55 percent say he is diminishing them.
Given the particularly high unemployment rate among blacks, the relative optimism on the direction  of the country has to be related to the symbolic value of a black president, and a desire to see things as favorable simply on that basis.

  • In the latest poll, Obama also faces a formidable intensity gap that could foreshadow turnout challenges for Democrats: The share of adults who strongly disapprove of his performance (39 percent) is nearly double that of those who strongly approve (21 percent).

Moreover, the demographic distribution of discontent is ominous for Democrat prospects in the Senate:

  • More troubling for Democrats still may be his especially precarious position with constituencies that loom large for the seven Democratic candidates trying to hold Senate seats in states that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012.

In all of those states – Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia – older whites and whites without a four-year college degree represent a substantial share of the electorate. Whites overall represent a larger share of the vote than they do nationally in all of these states except for North Carolina and Louisiana.

Obama's standing with the key groups in those states remains tenuous in the new Heartland Monitor Poll. Among whites overall, just 35 percent said they approve of his performance, while 59 percent disapprove. That's a slight improvement from the previous two Heartland Monitor Polls last fall, but still at the lower end of his range among whites since taking office. Obama faces an even larger 62 percent disapproval from both non-college whites and whites older than 50; only about one-third of each group approve of his performance.

The man who promised to bring us together is, in fact, driving us apart.

Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal is reporting on the findings of a new poll, the 20th quarterly Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll conducted by the Strategic Communications Practice of FTI Consulting, and it looks very grim for Senate Democrats. The entire poll, including internals, is yet to be published, but the summary offered today should alarm Dems and delight Repubs. Some highlights:

  • Obama's overall approval, standing at just 41 percent, remains near the lowest level ever recorded in the 20 Heartland Monitor Polls since April 2009. And only one in four adults say his actions are increasing economic opportunity for people like them, also among his worst showings in the polls. His numbers are especially meager among the non-college and older whites that dominate the electorate in the seven red-leaning states where Democrats must defend Senate seats in November.

There is further evidence of the nation’s racial divide that has been so seriously aggravated by Obama:

  • Just 27 percent of those polled said they believed the country is moving in the right direction; 62 percent say they consider it off on the wrong track. That's slightly better than the results last fall, but much gloomier than the assessment around Obama's reelection in fall 2012. The racial gap on this question is huge: 41 percent of minorities say the country is moving in the right direction, but only about half as many whites (22 percent) agree. (Among whites without a college degree, just one in six see the country moving on the right track, only about half the level among whites with at least a four-year degree.) (snip) 40 percent of non-white respondents said Obama's agenda would increase their opportunities, compared to 24 percent who believe it will reduce them. But among whites, just 19 percent say he is increasing their chances, while a resounding 55 percent say he is diminishing them.

Given the particularly high unemployment rate among blacks, the relative optimism on the direction  of the country has to be related to the symbolic value of a black president, and a desire to see things as favorable simply on that basis.

  • In the latest poll, Obama also faces a formidable intensity gap that could foreshadow turnout challenges for Democrats: The share of adults who strongly disapprove of his performance (39 percent) is nearly double that of those who strongly approve (21 percent).

Moreover, the demographic distribution of discontent is ominous for Democrat prospects in the Senate:

  • More troubling for Democrats still may be his especially precarious position with constituencies that loom large for the seven Democratic candidates trying to hold Senate seats in states that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012.

In all of those states – Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia – older whites and whites without a four-year college degree represent a substantial share of the electorate. Whites overall represent a larger share of the vote than they do nationally in all of these states except for North Carolina and Louisiana.

Obama's standing with the key groups in those states remains tenuous in the new Heartland Monitor Poll. Among whites overall, just 35 percent said they approve of his performance, while 59 percent disapprove. That's a slight improvement from the previous two Heartland Monitor Polls last fall, but still at the lower end of his range among whites since taking office. Obama faces an even larger 62 percent disapproval from both non-college whites and whites older than 50; only about one-third of each group approve of his performance.

The man who promised to bring us together is, in fact, driving us apart.

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