WASHINGTON--The Obama 2012 team wants to be competitive in states Obama did not win in 2008--but also needs to hold on to swing states won in 2008 that the Republican National Committee is already targeting for 2012. While the GOP 2012 presidential field is still forming, the job of the RNC is to soften up Obama's support. The latest push on Wednesday, has the RNC, as it says in a statement, going "on offense" with a new video ad aimed at New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. These are states "in Obama's backyard, airing the ad on cable and broadcast in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire - states that went for the Democrat Presidential nominee in both 2004 and 2008. Despite going blue in previous presidential elections, Barack Obama would be ill-advised to take them for granted next year due to his abysmal economic record and recent GOP victories. The second ad can be viewed at www.gop.com."
The Democratic National Committee response comes from communications director Brad Woodhouse: "The RNC, which is deep in debt and has enjoyed, at best, mediocre fundraising, claims to have a new one minute ad running in four states (PA, WI, NH and MI) attacking the President on the economy.
"No one should be surprised that a Republican Party run by a Chairman who just this week said it would 'not be the end of the world' if the nation were to default on its debt for the first time would rather run negative ads than work to find solutions to get our fiscal house in order and create jobs," said Woodhouse. "While the President continues to fight to clean up a mess that was years in the making, the Republican Party and its candidates for president are playing politics with our economy and are fighting to protect the very budget-busting tax breaks and loopholes for oil companies, corporate jet owners, the wealthy and Wall Street that got us in to the current mess. Americans want solutions - and other than negative attacks and working to end Medicare and revive the failed policies of the last decade that nearly sank our economy - Republicans aren't offering any."
The RNC also released a memo from RNC poitical director Rick Wiley about the 2012 electoral map:
To: Interested parties
From: Rick Wiley, RNC Political Director
RE: Obama's Backyard: MI, PA, NH and WI
President Obama won in 2008 by winning nine states President Bush carried in 2004. These states will undoubtedly be battlegrounds again in 2012 and Obama's surrogates have also talked about widening the 2012 electoral map and playing in other states he failed to carry in 2008, like Arizona and Georgia. This seems a curious strategy given the trouble he has closer to home.
The Obama campaign should pay close attention to four states that represent 50 electoral votes - Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Obama easily won these states by an average margin of 13 points in 2008, and together they've mustered only one win for a GOP Presidential nominee in the last five Presidential elections (George W. Bush carried New Hampshire with 48% in 2000). But recent polling in these states, and overwhelming GOP victories in 2010, shows Obama isn't just weaker than he was in 2008, but he is in real danger of losing electoral votes.
In Pennsylvania, the biggest electoral prize of the four with 20 electoral votes, Obama's polling has been dismal. Two surveys conducted in June by Quinnipiac and Susquehanna Polling and Research show his re-elect numbers at 48% and 44% respectively. Obama's job approval in the Susquehanna survey was upside down by 7 points (41% approve, 48% disapprove). This week, Public Policy Polling (PPP), a Democrat firm, released a survey showing Obama again upside down in his job approval - 46% approve to 48% disapprove - and showed him tied at 44% in a theoretical matchup against a candidate for the Republican nomination. Democrats were swamped in Pennsylvania in 2010, when an motivated electorate propelled Republicans to take control of the Governorship, a US Senate seat, the State House, and five US House seats.
Recent polling in New Hampshire, conducted by the University of New Hampshire for WMUR, also showed the President's job approval upside down with 46% approving and 49% disapproving. The poll also showed him behind in a theoretical matchup with a Republican candidate. Last month ARG released a survey showing his approval rating upside down by a whopping 15 points (39% approve, 54% disapprove). In 2010 Republicans rolled in New Hampshire as well, knocking off both members of the US House delegation and regaining control of both chambers of the state legislature.
Public polling in Michigan and Wisconsin has been less frequent, but the drubbing Democrats took in 2010 cannot be ignored. In states that voted for Barack Obama by 16 and 14 points respectively, Republicans wrestled the Governorship of both states from the Democrats, as well as a US Senate seat in Wisconsin, two US House seats in each state, and three state legislative chambers (resulting in full control of the legislature in each state). That historical perspective combined with Obama's abysmal economic record and new taxes and regulations on the auto industry should make Team Obama think twice about taking too many states from his 2008 coalition for granted.