Exclusive Poll: President Has Lost Nearly Half His Support In RI
Thursday, September 22, 2011
President Obama won Rhode Island with nearly 63 percent of the vote in 2008. In yet another sign of his decreasing popularity in the state, just 38 percent of registered voters in Rhode Island say they plan to vote for him in 2012, according to a GoLocalProv poll released Wednesday.
While no specific Republican opponent was polled, thirty-five percent of those polled said they would vote against the President while 26 percent remain undecided, a surprisingly large number given that his third year in the White House is nearly complete.
The poll, which was conducted by Starr Opinion Research, asked 403 Rhode Islanders for their opinions on a wide array of topics, ranging from President’s approval numbers to their views on the 1st Congressional District race in 2012. The margin of error for the overall sample was 4.9 percentage points.
Still The Preferred Candidate
Despite his sinking numbers in Rhode Island, the President still has a modest base to build a successful reelection campaign in the state, according to Josh Starr, who conducted the poll.
Fifty-five percent of voters have a favorable view of Obama, and 41 percent view him unfavorably. His numbers among Democrats are mostly strong, with 85 percent saying they view him favorably, but only 48 percent say they view him very favorably.
Of the Republicans polled, six percent said they would for Obama while 88 percent said they would vote against him. Six percent remain undecided.
It’s Very Early
According to Valerie Endress, Rhode Island College Professor of Political Communication, it might be too early to accurately poll voters on their thoughts heading in to the 2012 election. Endress said a lot can change over the next year.
“It’s still very early in the presidential campaign and these numbers can change dramatically,” Endress said. “And, too, unprecedented times will yield unprecedented polling numbers. Compared to other elections, we may not even know how to read these numbers—and that may be the case very late into the election. It’s fair to say that most incumbents in this election will register higher-than-normal unfavorable ratings. “
“Obama’s numbers will be shaped by the winnowing process in the Republican primaries,” Endress said. “In other words, when we start to detect the emergence of Republican frontrunner, this will create a new context for which to evaluate Obama’s favorable ratings. All-and-all the these polling numbers are likely to spark some concern in the Obama camp, but it’s certainly not time to panic.”
You Can’t Hide From Your Record
But top Republican officials says the President’s shrinking support in Rhode Island is a sign that he has not followed through on many of his promises. State GOP Executive Director Patrick Sweeney said voters are sending a clear message to the President.
“One great aspect of American politics is that every four years we reelect or remove the President and every two years we get to support or reject his or her policies through the congressional candidates of their party. With the Republican Party claiming 63 congressional wins and 680 legislative wins in 2010, it should have been abundantly clear to the President that the voters had rejected his policies. “The fact that the President has lost almost half his base in Rhode Island only goes to show you can’t hide from your record: unemployment rate is up almost two percent, the price of gas has more than doubled and the President added almost $4 trillion to the deficit.”
Sweeney said it’s time to move in a different direction.
“I believe the people of Rhode Island realize that hope isn’t hiring and we need a President with both public and private sector experience (see Romney) to get America back to work,” he said.
Undecideds A Possible Problem
The fact that 26 percent of voters remain undecided is what caught the eye of both Quest Research Pollster Victor Profughi and Darrell West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. Each said the large number could present a problem for the President heading into 2012.
“Obviously Rhode Island voters are following the national trends in their loss of confidence,” Profughi said. “The large number of undecideds on their feelings regarding the President point to a possible problem for him, even in this very Blue state. It's interesting that voters are almost evenly divided on whether or not he deserves to be reelected. The large number of undecided voters on the reelection question reflect the lack of confidence in Obama, but with no Republican opponent known, these people are doing the most intelligent thing possible for them.”
West said that while Obama is still doing well in Rhode Island, the undecided vote is a sign of general unhappiness.
“President Obama continues to do better in Rhode Island than across the country,” West said.“However, the big undecided vote on whether people plan to cast their vote for him is a warning sign of general unhappiness.”
If you valued this article, please LIKE GoLocalProv.com on Facebook by clicking HERE.