On June 28 when the Court revealed its ruling to the public, President Obama’s Rasmussen approval index stood at -20. The index did climb to a high of -12 on July 7, but has since settled back to -18. This means that President Obama’s disapproval is 18 percentage points higher than his approval.
There was the possibility that the Supreme Court ruling would change some minds on the health care law. The opinion of the Supreme Court might sway some voters to believe that the law was not so bad or unconstitutional after all. Instead, Rasmussen’s health law poll shows that 53 percent still favor repeal while 41 percent are opposed. This is statistically unchanged from before the ruling and for the last several months.
Rasmussen’s new presidential tracking poll, released today, shows Mitt Romney leading the president 47-44. On the issues, the poll notes that voters favor an extension of the low Bush-era tax rates, but are split on whether the rates should be extended or raised for higher income taxpayers. By two-to-one, Americans believe that the country is already overtaxed and most feel that raising taxes will hurt the economy. Forty-nine percent believe that 30 percent should be the highest tax rate for federal, state and local governments combined. The highest tax rate is already 35 percent for federal income taxes alone. It will rise to 39.6 percent if the Bush tax rates are not extended. In contrast to Obama’s policies, 66 percent believe that the government should cut spending.
According to the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Obama has a 1.5 point lead nationally. Looking closer, this reflects a number of older polls. In the four polls from July, Romney leads in two, Obama in one, and one is a tie. More importantly, Romney won both polls that featured likely voters with an average of a two point lead.
In the swing states, Obama leads handily in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania according to Real Clear Politics. Obama also leads by a smaller amount in Colorado, Iowa, and Wisconsin. These polls were all taken prior to the Supreme Court ruling and most used registered voters, however. In Michigan, Obama leads by less than two points in pre-ruling polls. In several polls of likely voters, Romney leads or is virtually tied with the president.
Mitt Romney leads in North Carolina and Missouri. In the most recent Missouri poll, taken in early June, Romney led by seven points. In North Carolina the race is much closer. Real Clear Politics credits Romney with an average lead of just over one point. In the two post-ruling polls, Obama led in one poll by one point while Romney led in another by five points. Both polls used registered voters.
In Florida the race is too close to call. Two July polls of likely voters are split. Romney and Obama each won one of the polls by one point. In Ohio, Obama won two June polls of registered voters handily, but Romney won two earlier polls of likely voters. In Virginia, Obama won a July poll of registered voters by eight points, but Romney won the previous poll of likely voters by five points.
More bad news for Obama is that a poll by The Hill reveals that 68 percent of likely voters believe that Obama has “substantially transformed” the country since he became president. The bad news is that by a margin of 56-35 percent they believe that he has changed the county in a negative way. Similarly, only 30 percent in Rasmussen’s Right Track-Wrong Track poll said that the country was headed in the right direction.
To some extent Obama is performing remarkably well in the polls. In spite of a poor economy, a plurality of voters who feel that he has led the country in the wrong direction, and a signature law that is very unpopular, Obama is holding nearly even with Mitt Romney in national and swing state polls. This would seem to indicate that, while voters are not happy with Obama, they are not yet sold on Romney.
The downside for Obama is that after three in office, people know him and what he stands for. If people don’t support Obama already, they are unlikely to. For this reason, blogger and political strategist Dick Morris holds that undecided voters usually turn against the incumbent. This means that Obama’s percentage of the vote is unlikely to increase, while Mitt Romney is likely to add to his score on Election Day.
More good news for Romney is that Republican fundraising has been going extremely well. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Romney’s fundraising outpaced Obama’s in June. According to CNN, the Romney campaign said that it had earned well over a million dollars from more than 47,000 contributors in the first 24 hours after the Supreme Court decision. The money advantage will help Romney to get his message to the voters as well as to help him put President Obama on the defensive in swing states.
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