Introducing the Purple Predictors and thePurple Descriptors: An Insiders’ look atCampaign 2012
Our April 2012 PurplePoll shows Mitt Romney getting a secondlook from voters, with President Obama maintaining a small butconsistent lead across the Purple electorate. Economic anxiety isrampant, as voters worry that new jobs are of lower quality thanthose lost and worry about future generations’ economic outlook.To provide greater detail, we offer two new features in this edition ofthe PurplePoll:
We have expanded our sample size to get readsfrom four key swing states: Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia.These represent the crown jewels of both campaigns’ strategies towin 270 electoral votes. From this month forward we will provide asnapshot of each of these four states that are most likely to decidethe election.
As the campaigns turn their attention to thegeneral election, we look at the key leading indicators of opinion:candidate descriptors. Campaigns turn to these to understand wherethe electorate is moving. While oftentimes in high prole races themovement on vote choice is slow, the constant churn underneaththe numbers can be critical in determining the campaign’s futuredirection. We will provide a periodic look at these key descriptors forthe rest of the election cycle.In September 2011, the PurplePoll created the rst monthly surveyof the 12 critical swing states in the 2012 election. We will continueto innovate with features like our predictors and descriptors toprovide unique insight that you won’t be able to nd anywhere else.
Mitt Romney’s popularity and favorable/unfavorable ratios haveimproved since the last PurplePoll, thanks to Republicans cominghome and Independents taking a second look.
Over the course of the primary campaign, Mitt Romney’s popularitysank steadily in Purple States to a low point of 27% favorable, 57%unfavorable. In our most recent poll, it has improved for the firsttime to 38% favorable, 48% unfavorable – a net improvementof 20 points.He improved substantially among Republicans (66% favorable,20% unfavorable – a net improvement of 35 points), as a resultof capturing the putative nominee position. He has also seen a12 point net improvement among independent voters, amongwhom 34% have a favorable view of the candidate (49% unfavorable).While these marks are relatively low by historic standards fora major party nominee, April 2012 may mark a key inflectionpoint for him.Romney’s popularity is highest in the Southern Swing region (43%favorable, 43% unfavorable) and lowest in the Heartland region (36%favorable, 51% unfavorable).
President Obama’s job approval ticked up overall, and down amongindependents—and is problematic for an incumbent President.
President Obama’s job performance has moved up a hair inPurple states over the last month with 47% approving of his jobperformance, while 48% disapprove. However, he is moving thewrong direction with independents, as 52% disapprove of the jobhe’s doing, up 3 points from last month.Obama’s approval rating remains below the national rating ofother recent successful presidential incumbents. George W. Bushand Ronald Reagain stood at 51% approval at this point in theirpresidencies, while Bill Clinton was at 55% approval. By ElectionDay, all three of those re-elected incumbents were at 53%approval or higher.
Obama retains a Purple State lead as a result of a strong gender gap.
President Obama currently leads Mitt Romney in a general electionhead to head, 48% to 44%. The gender gap remains exceptionallystrong in President Obama’s favor, as he leads among women by 11points (52% to 41%), while trailing among men by just 4 points (45%to 49%).
The Purple Predictor states are extremely tight.
With just under 7 months to go before Election Day, the PurplePredictor states are extremely tight. Obama has a 5-point lead inOhio (49% to 44%) and a slight lead in Virginia (48% to 46%). Thecandidates are tied in Colorado (47% to 47%), while Mitt Romneyhas a 2-point advantage in Florida (47% to 45%). These four statesare most likely to swing this election, and today they are just aboutas tight as can be.
Purple State Independents have moved toward Romney in thepast month.
While the Purple Electorate vote has been steady, independents havemoved toward Romney since March. Today, Romney holds a 2-pointlead (46% to 44%), while in March President Obama led among thiskey swing constituency by 8 points. As the general election nears,the race to capture independents begins in earnest.
Overall evaluations of the economy have declined, and PurpleState voters have serious reservations about the quality of the jobs being created. Pessimism about the future presents aserious challenge for President Obama.