Poll Shows Decline In Obama’s Pa. Support

The Citizen’s Voice

After an easy win in Pennsylvania in 2008, President Barack Obama has plenty of minds to change if he wants to win the state again when he runs for re-election next year, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

More than half of Pennsylvanians (54 percent) disapprove of the way the president is handling his job and almost the same number (52 percent) do not believe he deserves re-election, according to the new Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll.

The poll shows only 43 percent of Pennsylvania registered voters approve of Obama’s job performance and only 42 percent believe he deserves re-election.

Rob Gleason, chairman of the state Republican Party, said he doesn’t put much stock in polls so many months from an election, but he was emphatic about what the poll says about Republican prospects.

“I’m sure we’re going to beat him,” Gleason said. “He’s sinking fast. He has no support. Last time (2008), it was more about what was going on with Wall Street.”

Kevin Washo, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said the poll is part of “the ebb and flow” of political campaigns and will not divert the party from its plans for the election.

“The reality is there’s going to be a lot of different polls, from a lot of different outlets between now and 2012,” Washo said. “The reality is, I believe, the party is going to be in as strong of a position as it’s ever been, and we’re going to work toward our goal in 2012, and we’re going to come out with a strong victory. … This is a marathon, and we can’t let anything distract us from our ultimate goal.”

The good news for Obama: He is still more than competitive when matched up against the current leading Republican presidential contenders and former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who so far trails badly in the GOP presidential race.

Obama leads or is in a statistical tie with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Santorum.

Democratic candidates have won Pennsylvania in the last five presidential elections. The last Republican to win the Keystone state was the first President George Bush in 1988. Obama defeated Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain by 10.4 percentage points three years ago, the largest margin of victory since Republican President Richard Nixon defeated Democratic Sen. George McGovern by 20 points in 1972.

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,358 registered voters between July 25 and Sunday and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. The survey included 532 Republicans. That portion of the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

The poll did not attempt to determine why Obama’s job approval and re-election ratings are down from 48 percent in a June poll, but the poll was done as the economic recovery continued to crawl along and at the height of the fractious debate over the nation’s debt limit. Voters, however, believe Obama acted more responsibly in the debt-limit debate than congressional Republicans by a 44 to 37 percent margin.

Though Obama is still competitive against the Republican presidential candidates, the two whom Quinnipiac previously included in a poll have made up ground since June.

– Romney led him 44 percent to 42 percent for Obama in this poll, a statistical tie because the lead falls within the margin of error. In June, Obama led 47 percent to 40 percent.

– Obama led Santorum 45 percent to 43 percent compared to an Obama lead of 49 percent to 38 percent in June.

In the new poll, Obama led Bachmann 47 percent to 39 percent and Perry by 45 percent to 39 percent.

In a matchup of Republican contenders, Romney was tops with 21 percent; Santorum, 14 percent; former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, 12 percent; Bachmann, 11 percent; and Perry, 8 percent.

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