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Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos & SEIU (4/14-17, MoE: ±3.1, registered voters, Obama trendlines 4/7-10, all others 3/31-4/3):

This week, I wanted to take a look at the regional breakdowns in our State of the Nation poll. If you click through to check out our cross-tabs, you'll see that one way we parse results is by geography: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. It's commonly assumed that "the South" is implacably hostile to Barack Obama, but what's remarkable is how similar the numbers are across different areas. For instance, here are Obama's aggregate job approvals over the last three polls (I combined them so that our samples wouldn't be too small for each sub-group):

Northeast: 50-44
Midwest: 44-49
South: 45-50
West: 46-46

Now, the N.E. gives Obama a +6 spread, while the South is -5—every politican would prefer the former, of course. But the gap, I think, is smaller than perceptions often suggest. Indeed, the southern numbers are almost identical to the midwestern numbers, an area where Democrats had deep problems last fall, no doubt—but again illustrative of the fact that the differences are not as great as you might expect.

When thinking about "the South" generically, it's important to remember that it's not a monolithic region. You have states like Virginia and North Carolina which have seen an influx of more liberal white residents, often from the Northeast; states like Georgia and Texas, where Hispanic growth is changing things rapidly; states of the traditional "Deep South" like Alabama and Mississippi, which still have very large black populations; and of course Florida, which is sui generis.

And all of these sorts of people are, of course, included in our national poll, which helps explain why the regional disparities are relatively minimal. On a state-by-state level, it's easy for, say, Hispanic votes in Texas or black votes in Mississippi to get drowned out by larger conservative voting majorities. But in a national poll, where everyone is aggregated at a level much broader than mere single states, these voices really add up. And they also go to show why Barack Obama was able to make inroads in the South last cycle, and why states like Georgia and eventually Texas will become competitive before long. Republicans, watch out.

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Comment Preferences

  •  While the 50 State Strategy should never have (10+ / 0-)

    gone away, it's clear that the time has come now to bring it roaring back.

    Fuck with the truth at your own peril. -Anonymous

    by thenekkidtruth on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:34:01 AM PDT

  •  It will be interesting to see what effect (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    evilhoodedcrow, bythesea

    the Ryan budget has on Congressional Republicans.

    The DCCC already has attack ads going

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:34:49 AM PDT

  •  Obama goes local (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    evilhoodedcrow, Possiamo, bythesea


    The POTUS is conducting interviews with radio stations in 4 cities.

    Denver (purple-blue state).
    Raleigh(purple state).
    Indianapolis(purple-red state).
    And Dallas(red state).

    The President is acting as though Texas is in play. Verrrrrry interestink, Sgt. Schulzte.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:38:15 AM PDT

    •  I Read They Are Going to Make (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      a play for Texas.  The numbers are there is they could get a big voter registration drive for younger Latino voters in the state.   If anything Obama can force the GOP to defend this costly state instead of letting the GOP fight on Democrat leaning swing states like WI.

      Overall I think the Democrats have to make inroads into the growing areas of the South and Southwest in roder to win future national elections and to get / maintain congressional majorities.  States like FL, TX, GA and AZ are ripe for Democrats to come on strong again....they just have to make a real effort.

      •  You've hit the nail squarely on the head (0+ / 0-)

        Cererico! Bravo to you! You have it all figured out exactly. We need to focus more and more on the West and Southwest as the strengths we once relied on in the Rust Belt and Northeast begin to erode along with dwindling population numbers. As more people move to the South and Southwest, we have to position ourselves to take advantage of that fact. I am living proof.

        Originally from Texas, I moved nearly 30 years ago to New York/New Jersey for my job. I've now retired and next Spring, I'll be moving to a house I bought two years ago in Florida. Ton win FL, the President will have to spend much time there in the I-4 corridor, and the South and Southwest parts of the state (mirrors need on a national level).

        As a native Texan, Obama needs to stop spending time in Dallas (very conservative part of the state), and start campaigning in the Southeast (Houston) and Southwestern parts of the state where huge numbers of Hispanics (legal Mexican-Americans) live and work. These people vote less often than other ethnic groups, but the numbers are rising alongside of their increasing share of the population. They are ripe fruit that needs tending and harvesting, in terms of their votes. They are ready to vote Democratic if we motivate them to register and show up at the polls. This is why Texas is rapidly trending away from the Republicans.

        Sure, the President no doubt gets some coverage on local TV stations and radio stations, but he will get more traction for his efforts if he begins focusing on the growing Hispanic population in the other parts of the state. No doubt he goes to Dallas to collect big bucks from the richer white Dems living there, but the real pay-off is in the areas near San Antonio, in the agricultural areas in the border counties of South Texas, and the more rural areas along the Rio Grande River, basically from Brownsville, McAllen, to El Paso.

        It will be a great day when we take Texas back from the Repubs. I grew up in the state when it always voted Democratic. Only once Saint Ronnie showed up on the scene, and began picking of the so-called "Reagan Democrats," did we see the state lurch hard right. It can be reclaimed, but it will take a lot more attention to the population that matters the most now -- our brothers and sisters in the Hispanic regions of the state. And as Cederico said, "Obama can force the GOP to defend this costly state instead of letting the GOP fight on Democrat (sic) leaning swing states..."  If we don't win TX this time, it will maybe be the last national election that we lose there. I was heartened to see that a major Hispanic-American will be running as a candidate for the Senate next year. Definitely the right move to make. If Obama helps by visiting Texas multiple times over the next year, and in the right areas of the state, he can at least help elect a Democrat to the U.S. Senate for the first time in decades.

        Immigration is a big issue there, but Hispanic-Americans are not just one-issue voters. They vote other issues just like other Americans. They want to make the future better for their kids, just like all Americans do. They are interested in education, in preserving Social Security and strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, like the vast majority of other Americans. If Obama shows up their and speaks about the Repubs attempts to destroy Medicare/Medicaid, while still pushing to destroy Social Security, and if he speaks about the important things he is already doing to protect the border while trying to deal with the immigration problem in a way that allows people to begin a process towards legalizing them to apply for visas to stay here and work, that will go over big and cement Hispanic voters as an important constituency of the Democratic Party for decades to come.

  •  Can you explain the pollster's definitions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Satya1

    of the four geographic regions?  In other words, what states are included in each?

  •  My state of Florida (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark

    Used to be sui generis.  Unfortunately, we have become ad nauseum.

    If your issue is still Democrat vs. Republican, you've been punked by the Oligarchy.

    by MrJayTee on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:44:33 AM PDT

  •  Not sure I understand your layout. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, Greasy Grant

    What's the difference between those first 2 Obama poll numbers? Different dates?

    This is America! We have vast wealth. Much of which was just legally stolen from the middle class.

    by DavidHeart on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:46:15 AM PDT

    •  One is 'favorable' and 'unfavorable', (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      and the other is job approval.  Not sure I understand the difference between the two; I suppose it's possible to be in favor of Barack Obama while still thinking that he's not doing a good job as POTUS.

      Barack Obama in the Oval Office: There's a black man who knows his place.

      by Greasy Grant on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 08:51:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There often is a difference (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Greasy Grant

        In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

        by blue aardvark on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 09:02:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It definitely possible (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seneca Doane

        Usually favorables are higher than approvals, and that's generally been the case with our poll, albeit by small margins. But there have been interesting historical cases when the opposite has been true. For instance, in his second term (esp. after Lewinsky), Bill Clinton's approvals were higher than his favorables, because the economy was doing well and people were pleased with his governance, but many people had grown to dislike him personally.

        Political Director, Daily Kos

        by David Nir on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 09:19:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I get it now. It's all in the headers. (0+ / 0-)

        Much obliged.

        This is America! We have vast wealth. Much of which was just legally stolen from the middle class.

        by DavidHeart on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 09:25:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  disapprove because he's too conservative (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, tolerant, bythesea, Hirodog

    how many people answer the pollster question that they disapprove or give Obama unfavorable ratings because they want him to do more, like many kos members, but would vote for him without question, compared to any republican?

  •  Why in your demographics (0+ / 0-)

    do you have 21%, 210 people who make over 100,000$? This seems really high % wise for income in your sample.

  •  Talk about putting lipstick on a pig. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Now I admit that I'm a pessimist, but we can't bury our heads in the sand and say how wonderful these numbers are.

    We're still losing the south, only not by as much.  We were winning the Midwest, now we're losing it by as much as the south.  And We're even in the west.

    These are horrible numbers.  If we don't turn the numbers in the midwest around before the election, this game is over.

    After the budget negotiations, Boehner's favorables go up, and Obama's go down?  Either Americans have bought into the Austerity BS, or they're mad at another capitulation.

    We've got a lot of work to do something about this.

  •  "Liberals" moving to NC (0+ / 0-)

    A point of contention on "liberals" moving to southern states like NC. As a NC native, it was my experience that the vast majority of relocated northerners were tax averse suburbanites who moved south because they wanted their bigger house on a cul-de-sac and no snow to shovel. A lot of those people would have voted for the likes of Chris Christie if they had stayed in NJ. North Carolina hasn't really changed significantly because of the influx, at least as far as becoming more liberal than it would have been otherwise.  

  •  Unbelievable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In a week where the Rs come out for destroying Medicare, and Obama stands up for this hugely popular and life sustaining program - it's HIS numbers that take the hit.

    The Midwest is a sinkhole. I'm used to writing off the South, but too often I forget what a hole of ignorance and racism exists in the Midwest.

    These numbers depress me. If the body politic is impervious to logic and self preservation, what can possibly be done? I hear so much seething hatred and so many lies being circulated by Obama, and I'm in NY - one of the bluest parts of the country. I can't imagine what those other places sound/feel like.

    •  Gas prices and continued economic malaise (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      explain a good deal of this IMO.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 10:24:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yep. Everyone took a hit here (0+ / 0-)

        the economic picture re: jobs is a constant. the incessant bickering between the parties is a constant.
         The only changes lately are Libya, Japan, and gas prices.
        I don't think it's the first two.
        Net effect of this is lower turnout, which favors the assholes.
        Then again, 18 months of campaigning and assorted other insults to the body politic to come make any prognostications worthless, imo.

        Dear Confederacy, please remember what happened last time you acted like this.

        by kamarvt on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 10:37:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ..not many days after Obama takes lil' Paul Ryan behind the woodshed & administers an old school spanking,  Obama's reward for it is a drop in his favorable & approval ratings.

    I guess this is what  "lack of civility" gets you these days:

    You take a righteous, unequivocally patriotic stand against unmitigated Tea Party bullshit, & your approval ratings take a hit.

    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 09:06:39 AM PDT

    •  Seems Like It...Doesn't It (0+ / 0-)

      I would have thought he would have better numbers.

      I think the real thing dragging him down is the rising gas prcies and general economic unease.  He has to continue his focus on jobs and come out with a clearer plan which he repeats constantly.  Only when jobs come back in big numbers and gas prices fall will he be able to really improve these numbers.

    •  The problem is the MSM (0+ / 0-)

      The real explanation for this "drop  in his favorable & approval ratings," has to do with the virtual wall-to-wall coverage by the MSM of their golden boy of the hour, the very photogenic Mr. Ryan.  He was cited over and over again for his bravery to take on a serious problem that no one else was willing to touch. But as soon as the next big celebrity comes along (Donald Trump), you now see them move to wall-to-wall coverage of him and his "run" for the presidency.

      Obama's numbers will climb again as the economy improves, and signs are starting to look really good there as more Americans are getting jobs and they begin to feel better about themselves. Obama needs to continue to push his accomplishments, push back against Ryans plans (and soon, against the "Gang of Six" and their attacks on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid).

      My only pessimism is not about Obama's ability to rally the troops, so to speak, but rather about his willingness to cave to the Repubs on signature programs that have favored Dems for decades since those programs inception. So I don't put the blame on Obama just yet; the MSM will not give him a break as long as they have the latest bauble is out there to mesmerize them with BS. Look beyond the curtain, focus on the things we know people like and want preserved: more jobs, strengthening Medicare/Medicaid, protecting Social Security, and shoring up the weak parts of ACA.  

      The Dems have been given a golden issue to run against the Repubs on -- the Ryan plan to destroy Medicare. This issue will prove to be a godsend for us to delineate the two parties and their agendas. Dems and the POTUS just need to fight back, throw this issue in the Repubs faces over and over again, and we can not only keep the Whitehouse, but retake the House and possibly keep the Senate from turning Red. Imagine the fireworks that would ensue if a Hispanic Democrat wins the Senate seat in Texas and takes away the prize that would otherwise easily go Repubican!

  •  I'd love to see smaller cells. (0+ / 0-)

    What do southern whites under 30 think of Obama? of the Demmocratic party?

    It would be incredibly expensive to do this for one week, or incredibly inexact.

    But simple calculations could aggregate all the results in a year. That wouldn't show changes, but it would give us a picture.

    Corporations are people; money is speech.
    1984 - George Orwell

    by Frank Palmer on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 09:12:21 AM PDT

    •  You can do this (0+ / 0-)

      We publish all our raw data - it's at the bottom of each link. I think it would be reasonable to aggregate several months' worth of polls to ensure you have a reasonable sample size. Obama's numbers have changed minimally during that timeframe, so I think the data would still be meaningful.

      Political Director, Daily Kos

      by David Nir on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 09:23:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Durbin's #202-224-2152. Call this bum!!! (0+ / 0-)
  •  It never ceases to amaze me (0+ / 0-)

    that republicans like Boehner garner either greater public approval,  or less disapproval, while fighting for deeply unpopular policies and principles.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:00:33 AM PDT

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