If there is a must-win state for President Obama, it’s Pennsylvania. The only time that Republican presidential candidates win Pennsylvania is when they don’t need it, while no Democrat has won the presidency without Pennsylvania in the past 60 years.
Therefore, recent polling coming out of that state does not bode well for Obama. A newly released Quinnipiac poll shows that, by a margin of 11 points (53 to 42 percent), Pennsylvanians don’t approve of his job performance — a 13-point swing (against him) from a year ago. By a margin of 10 points (52 to 42 percent), they say he doesn’t deserve to be reelected — a 16-point swing from last summer. By a margin of 11 points (54 to 43 percent), they don’t like his policies. And by a margin of 12 points (52 to 40 percent), they want Obamacare to be repealed.
A PPP poll from a couple of weeks ago showed similar results in Pennsylvania, conveying a 10-point deficit for Obama on his job performance.
But the Quinnipiac poll also says a lot about the strength, or lack thereof, of the current Republican field. While 52 percent of Pennsylvanians don’t think Obama deserves to be reelected, only 41 percent expect to vote for the Republican candidate. Another 13 percent volunteered the answer, “It depends on the candidate” (or some variation on that response). Among independents, only 36 percent expect to vote for the Republican candidate, while 23 percent volunteered the “it depends” answer.
That seems about right. The Republican candidate can expect to get something along the lines of 40 percent of the vote — whether in Pennsylvania or nationwide — simply based on widespread dissatisfaction with Obama. Most of the rest of the votes, however, will have to be earned, and will have to be cast by people who actually want to vote for the GOP nominee, not merely against the president. And as the Quinnipiac poll shows, voters — and especially independent voters — don’t seem to be overly impressed with the GOP candidates who have thrown their hats (officially or unofficially) into the ring so far.