Barack Obama’s approval rating in the state right now is 44%, with 52% of voters disapproving of him. His numbers with independents are horrid at 34/59. And there’s a whole lot more Democrats (16%) who disapprove of him than there are Republicans (just 4%) who like him.
So with those numbers Obama must be doomed in one of the country’s most important swing states, right? Wrong. Obama leads the entire Republican field in Ohio.
How can that be? Well Obama’s pretty unpopular. But consider these favorability numbers for the Republican alternatives: Mitt Romney, 30% favorable/49% unfavorable, Rick Perry, 28% favorable/37% unfavorable, Michele Bachmann, 30% favorable/49% unfavorable, Sarah Palin, 34% favorable/59% unfavorable, and Herman Cain, 22% favorable/35% unfavorable.
Obama’s net approval is a -8 spread. Every Republican’s net favorability is even worse than that. Ohio voters don’t like Obama. They like the GOP Presidential field even less. So at least for now Obama’s up 2 points on Romney at 45-43, 4 points on Perry at 45-41, 7 points on Bachmann at 48-41, 8 points on Cain at 47-39, and 13 points on Palin at 51-38.
Politically the best thing the President has going for him right now is that voters think all the possible Republican nominees are unacceptable, to put it kindly.
If this basic “we don’t like Obama but the other guy is terrible’”dynamic holds up as we get closer to the election, I suspect the response from Democrats will be to go extremely negative against the GOP nominee.