Over the past year President Obama has lost support across the board with all partisan sub groups, but the relative drop in support was largest among “pure independents” according to Gallup’s polling.
Obama’s approval rating has decreased among all six partisan/ideology groups Gallup tracks on a regular basis since January, but it has dropped the most — 10 percentage points, from 40% to 30% — among pure independents. These are the roughly 14% of national adults who neither identify with one of the two major parties nor indicate a leaning. Obama’s approval rating has declined by nearly as much — eight points — among moderate/liberal Republicans, from 29% to 21%.
An incumbent with only a 30 percent job approval among independents is an incumbent that should be in serious trouble. If it wasn’t for the fact that not one of the top Republicans presidential candidates has a net favorable rating, Obama would be doing much worse in the general election polls.
It is possible that the Obama campaign will find a way to win back independents next year, but wth little indication that the poor economy is going to improve over the next 11 months, that will be very difficult.
I suspect in the end the Obama campaign will go very negative. Independents aren’t happy with Obama’s job performance, but they don’t like the potential Republican nominees either. It will probably be easier to play on voters inherent dislike of Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich to make them unacceptable than it will be to convince voters that despite unemployment around 9 percent Obama is actually doing a good job.