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November 4, 2012 / Political Fluency

The Electorate is Willing to Fire Obama

“Cause the good news is You’re Fired.”

–          Glengarry Glen Ross

Back in mid-April, Sean Trende created a very helpful chart that detailed President Obama’s Job Approval percentage and matched it up with Obama’s percentage head-to-head against Mitt Romney for all polls from January through April 8th where both questions were asked.

It showed further evidence that this election is just like every other election with an incumbent where the voters ask themselves two questions. The first is “Do I approve of the job the incumbent is doing?” and if the answer is “Yes” for 50% + 1 (or more) then the incumbent will almost always win. If the answer is “No” then voters ask themselves “Is the challenger an acceptable candidate for the job?” and if the answer to that second question is also “Yes” for 50% +1 (or more), then the incumbent will almost always lose.

In mid-April, President Obama was running, on average, .93% better than his Job Approval rating – almost exactly the increase George W. Bush saw in his final Approval rating average of 49.8% and his actual share of the vote the next day of 50.7% in 2004.

However, the majority of those polls in the first quarter of this year were of Adults let alone Registered Voters let alone Likely Voters. Seven months later with exclusively Likely Voter screens is showing Obama in a very different position.

II.

Taking Trende’s chart, I updated the data from the past month beginning with the polls taken after the first debate on October 3rd.

Looking at just Obama’s Approval Rating over this time period, it seemed that Obama was going to win reelection as he averaged a 49.4% – just shy of George W. Bush’s 49.8% number that secured his reelection. But Obama’s vote percentage decreases from his Approval, on average, by -1.9%. Even taking out the -4% outliers from Fox News and the Associated Press still shows a decrease in Obama’s vote compared to his Approval of -1.4%.

Unlike the disparity from the polls in the beginning of the year, not one poll over the past 30 days showed an increase in Obama’s share of the vote from his Job Approval. There are 1.4 – 1.9% of Likely Voters literally telling pollsters they approve of the job Obama is doing, but were hesitant to say they were voting for him in the same conversation. It seems that whatever Obama’s Approval rating is tomorrow on November 5th, we can expect him to lose a point or more in the popular vote the next day.

Maybe the electorate is saying, “You’re a really great guy, but I met someone else and I need to see where it goes.”  And they’re only going to say that second part if Romney closed the deal, which will be discussed in the Election Prediction post.

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