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Obama Behind Every Republican Except Gingrich In Iowa

Barack Obama won Iowa in 2008 by more than 146,000 votes, the largest margin of victory for any Presidential candidate there since Bill Clinton’s re-election in 1996,  but if a new poll in the Des Moines Register is any indication, he’s going to have a tougher time in the Hawkeye State this time around:

President Barack Obama trails three of the four Republican candidates in head-to-head match-ups if the election were held today, according to a new Iowa Poll.

The Republican with the biggest lead: Ron Paul, who would defeat Obama by 7 percentage points, 49 percent to 42 percent. Rick Santorum, winner of the 2012 Iowa caucuses, leads Obama 48 percent to 44 percent. Mitt Romney, edged in the caucuses by Santorum, leads Obama 46 percent to 44 percent.

The president defeats only Newt Gingrich, 51 percent to 37 percent. Iowa is considered a swing state in the general election, critical to Obama’s re-election or victory by the Republican nominee.

Iowa Democrats made Obama the winner of the 2008 Iowa caucuses, launching him on his road to the White House. In the general election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain in Iowa by nearly 10 percentage points.

But Obama is in trouble in Iowa today, hampered by negative perceptions of the job he is doing as president. More Iowans disapprove (48 percent) than approve (46 percent). That’s just one percentage point above his all-time low in job approval, 45 percent in September 2010.

As I’ve mentioned with regard to other head-to-head polls, it’s worth noting that what we’re looking at hear is as much a reflection of the President’s job approval ratings as it is an evaluation of the two candidates. Additionally, a poll in February, when campaigning for the General Election is months away, doesn’t necessarily tell us much of anything about what might happen in November. Nonetheless, Iowa is one of the swing states that the President will have to hold on to in order to win re-election year and, at least at the moment, he’s got a potential problem.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tano says:

    I find this poll pretty hard to believe. It flies in the face of all other recent polls in Iowa, as well as larger-scale trends. I am classifying it as “probable outlier” pending new data.

    As I’ve mentioned with regard to other head-to-head polls, it’s worth noting that what we’re looking at hear is as much a reflection of the President’s job approval ratings as it is an evaluation of the two candidates

    I don’t quite see that. Last October and November Obama had 3, 4, and 7 point leads on Romney in Iowa (NBC, PPP) at a time when his approval ratings were minus 9 and minus 7 (RCP avg.). Now his RCP average is plus 2 – so how do this new Iowa poll reflect his general approval rating?

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  2. PJ says:

    …but if a new poll in the Des Moines Register is any indication, he’s going to have a tougher time in the Hawkeye State this time around:

    There’s a 95% confidence that the true support lies within the margin of error.
    Which means two things.
    1. Every match-up, except for Gingrich, is within the margin of error, and so is Obama’s job approval.
    2. In one in twenty polls, the true support aren’t within the margin of error.

    For anyone who thinks that since November Obama has gone from +7 to -2 against Romney, 0 to -7 against Paul in Iowa while his national approval numbers have improved at least seven points, I’ve got a bridge for sale.

    I’d call this an outlier.

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  3. KariQ says:

    I agree with Tano. it’s always hazardous to compare pollster A with pollster B, but it’s a little hard to see how Obama went from a 4 point lead over Romney in October to trailing by 2 in February at a time when his approval numbers have been trending up. On the other hand, the Des Moines register poll is generally pretty good. I’d have to start cracking numbers to see what, if anything, explains the change.

    Generally, Obama’s been tied to having a slight edge in battleground states like Ohio, Florida, and even North Carolina, which I had thought he had no chance of carrying again. I suspect this poll will turn out to be a deviation from the norm for Iowa.

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  4. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    What stands out to me is how Romney got 46 percent vs. Obama when, late last year, two polls had him at 39 and 42.

    Something’s not right.

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  5. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    Waitaminute… this poll has Obama losing to Ron Paul???

    OK, I think it’s safe to declare these results as 100% crap.

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  6. creeper says:

    While I wouldn’t argue that this poll isn’t an outlier, bear in mind that between November and now Obama vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline. Because of the cost of fuel in farming, Iowans are incredibly sensitive to actions that increase it. They saw approval of the pipeline as a no-brainer and Barry-O’s veto of it as flying in the face of common sense. If anything cost the pResident support here in Iowa, it was that.

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