As the Associated Press reports, “a Field Poll released Wednesday shows support for President Barack Obama is falling even in reliably Democratic California, where the shaky economy and persistently high unemployment have created pessimism about the future.”
As Field put it, the current proportion approving of his performance (46 percent) is now only slightly greater than the proportion disapproving (44 percent), which is a big change from three months ago when Californians approved of the job he was doing 54 percent to 37 percent. Also, those who are inclined to re-elect President Obama outnumber those not inclined by just five points (49 percent to 44 percent).
Although the overall personal regard that Californians have of the President remains quite positive – with 55 percent viewing him in a generally favorable light and 41 percent holding a negative impression – that’s an extremely partisan number. Democrats view him positively by a five-to-one margin, while Republicans see him negatively four-to-one; independent voters tend to see him favorably by a five-to-three margin.
Given the state’s current voter registration – 44 percent Democratic, almost 31 percent Republican and 20.4 percent decline-to-state – this doesn’t exactly make California a prime battleground state in next year’s general election. The numbers beg the question of whether more Californians upset with Obama are angry about what he has done, or about what he hasn’t; that in turn begs the question of how hard it’ll be to mobilize voters in 2012, and what it’ll mean for newly redistricted Democrats trying to ride the President’s coattails.
Note that this poll didn’t pit Obama against any of the potential Republican challengers; I’ll be curious to see such a survey of Californians.
Still, California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro sees blood in the water.
“The drop in Obama’s polls numbers in California is a direct result of the poor economic performance of Obama’s and Jerry Brown’s policies,” he said in a statement e-mailed late this afternoon. “Rather than funding more government programs, both need to restore confidence and incentives to the private sector. It’s a simple formula for success that neither seems to appreciate.”
This Field Poll was conducted Sept. 1-12 among a random sample of 1,001 registered voters in California; it has a 3.2-percentage-point margin of error.