BRIEFING from Republican National Committee Research
July 21, 2011

Battleground Blues
Democrats Are Starting To Sound The Alarm: The 2012 Map Isn’t As Big As Obama May Be Hoping For
  
WITH “BLEAK” ECONOMIC PICTURES AND SAGGING POPULARITY, DEMOCRATS ARE ADMITTING THAT OBAMA HAS HIS WORK CUT OUT FOR HIM IN MANY SWING STATES
 
Obama’s Popularity Has Eroded In The “Core” Battleground States, Which Will “Require Untold Millions” For Obama In 2012.  “The core battlegrounds of 2008 remain unchanged in 2012: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. All are marginal Obama states where his popularity has sagged, and will require untold millions in cash and other resources, campaign officials say.” (Glenn Thrush, “President Obama's Campaign Expands Its 2012 Map,” Politico, 6/8/11)
 
“In Four States That May Prove Key To The Obama Re-Election Strategy—Florida, Nevada, North Carolina And Michigan—The Jobless Picture Is Bleak.(Sara Murray, “Job Picture Set to Test Obama in Key States,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/11/11)
 
Obama Will “Have A Hard Time” In Colorado
 
“Democratic Strategists Have Said That Keeping Colorado In Obama's Column Is A Priority Next Year.” (“Analysis: Tough Fight for Obama in 2012 in Some Key States” Reuters, 7/20/11)

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) Obama Will “Have A Hard Time” Winning Colorado. “Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper predicted that President Barack Obama will have to fight hard to keep his state in the Democratic column in 2012, four years after Obama thumped John McCain there by a 9-point margin. Asked whether Obama would hold Colorado if the election were held today, Hickenlooper said: ‘It depends on who his opponent was. I think it’d be a very close battle. He’d have a hard time.’” (Alexander Burns, “John Hickenlooper: Colorado Tough For Barack Obama,” Politico, 7/16/11)

·         Hickenlooper: “There’s Such Dissatisfaction Over People Who Have Been Out Of Work.” “‘There’s such dissatisfaction over people who have been out of work, not just for a few months but for a year and a half or two years,’ said Hickenlooper, a Democrat, who spoke to POLITICO at the National Governors Association meeting in Salt Lake City.” (Alexander Burns, “John Hickenlooper: Colorado Tough For Barack Obama,” Politico, 7/16/11)
 
Obama May Have To Write Off Ohio To Focus On Other States
 
“Talk To Enough Democratic Strategists Who Have Worked In The Buckeye State And You’ll Inevitably Hear Anxiety About The President’s Standing Here.” (Josh Kraushaar, “Four Reasons Obama Is Probably Worried About Reelection,” National Journal, 6/29/11)
 
“Obama’s Message That The Economy Has Been Turning A Corner Has Been Off Key With A Blue-Collar Electorate That Hasn’t Been Feeling Much Of A Recovery.” (Josh Kraushaar, “Four Reasons Obama Is Probably Worried About Reelection,” National Journal, 6/29/11)
 
“A Leading Democratic Activist Said That, While There Will Be A Lot Of Campaigning In Ohio, He Could Also Envision A Scenario In Which The Party Wrote The State Off Early In Order To Focus Elsewhere.” (“Analysis: Tough Fight for Obama in 2012 in Some Key States” Reuters, 7/20/11)
 
50 Percent Of Ohio Voters Disapprove Of The Way Obama Is Handling His Job As President. (Quinnipiac Poll, 1659 RV, 2.4% MoE, 7/12-18/11)
 
·          58 Percent Of Ohio Voters Disapprove Of Obama’s Handling Of The Economy, A New Low For Obama. (Quinnipiac Poll, 1659 RV, 2.4% MoE, 7/12-18/11)

More Of Obama’s Excuses Won’t Fly In Michigan
 
Despite Michigan Voting For A Democrat In The Last 5 Presidential Elections, Obama Is “Showering” Attention On The State Providing “Evidence That Michigan Is In Play” In 2012. “Michigan has voted for Democratic presidential candidates in the past five elections. That ought to make it a solidly blue state that can be counted on to deliver again for Barack Obama in 2012. But that doesn't appear to be how the president sees things. Evidence that Michigan is in play can be found in the love the Obama administration is showering on the state.” (Nolan Finley, Op-ed, “Obama In Struggle To Hold Michigan,” Detroit News, 7/14/11)

“Michigan Endured A Longer And Deeper Recession Than Anywhere Else. So It's More Desperate For The Recovery To Take Hold.” (Nolan Finley, Op-ed, “Obama In Struggle To Hold Michigan,” Detroit News, 7/14/11)

·          “And It Has Less Patience For Obama's Excuses For Why His Policies Aren't Creating Jobs And Growth.” (Nolan Finley, Op-ed, “Obama In Struggle To Hold Michigan,” Detroit News, 7/14/11)

“The Beads And Baubles From Team Obama Are Nice. But If He Wants To Hang On To Michigan In 2012, The President Had Better Figure Out How To Rush Us A Few Hundred Thousand Good New Jobs.” (Nolan Finley, Op-ed, “Obama In Struggle To Hold Michigan,” Detroit News, 7/14/11)

New Mexico Will Be “A Battle” For Obama’s Reelection Team
 
Obama’s Reelection Will Be A “Battle” In New Mexico. “‘We have a battle on our hands,’ a top New Mexico Democrat said.  ’We have a new Republican, Hispanic governor [Susanna Martinez] who’s going to spend as much as she can to make sure Obama can’t get re-elected.’”  (Devin Dwyer, “RNC, American Crossroads Target Hispanic Voters In Battleground States” ABC News’ “The Note," 7/20/11)
 
·          NM Democrats Will Be Struggling To Drive Hispanic Turnout In The State. “‘We’re recruiting as many Hispanics to run for local positions as we can, get them on the ballot, and hopefully drive turnout back to Democrats in ‘12,’ he said.” (Devin Dwyer, “RNC, American Crossroads Target Hispanic Voters In Battleground States” ABC News’ “The Note," 7/20/11)

Pennsylvania Is “Absolutely” Up For Grabs
 
Former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell: “This Is A State That Absolutely Is Up For Grabs. Nobody Should Consider Us A Blue State. Certainly, In Statewide Politics, We're A Red State.” (Mike Wereschagin, “Rendell Says Pa. 'Absolutely Up For Grabs,'” Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 7/1/11)
 
As Is Iowa

Iowa “Is Up For Grabs In 2012.”. “Whether Iowa voters are tuned in yet is hard to know. But Iowa, which went solidly for Obama in 2008, is up for grabs in 2012.” (Robin Abcarian, “Iowa Democrats Trying To Stay In The Game,” Los Angeles Times, 7/10/11)
 
“The State Went Solidly For Obama In 2008, But Now Most Of The Excitement Is On The Republican Side.” (Robin Abcarian, “Iowa Democrats Trying To Stay In The Game,” Los Angeles Times, 7/10/11)

 “‘After All The Euphoria Of '08, '10 Was Such A Rude Awakening,’ Said Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky …” (Robin Abcarian, “Iowa Democrats Trying To Stay In The Game,” Los Angeles Times, 7/10/11)

Iowa Democratic Party Chairwoman Sue Dvorsky: “We Are Just About As Purple As Can Be.” “Democrats still have an edge in registrations, but as Dvorsky pointed out, the electorate of about 2 million is basically divided into thirds — Democrats, Republicans and independents. ‘We are just about as purple as can be.’” (Robin Abcarian, “Iowa Democrats Trying To Stay In The Game,” Los Angeles Times, 7/10/11)

The Gap In Registered Voters Has “Narrowed Considerably Since Obama Took Office, Plunging From 111,000 To 35,000.” “While Democrats do have an edge in registration over Republicans in the state, the gap has narrowed considerably since Obama took office, plunging from 111,000 to 35,000, according to the Iowa secretary of State's website.” (Robin Abcarian, “Iowa Democrats Trying To Stay In The Game,” Los Angeles Times, 7/10/11)
 
Strategists Are Pessimistic For A Repeat Victory For Obama In North Carolina
 
Strategists Say North Carolina Will Be The Toughest State For Obama To Hold. “When I interviewed leading Democratic and Republican strategists about the states toughest for Obama to hold, most were pessimistic about his prospects in North Carolina, a state that he won by just 14,000 votes.” (Josh Kraushaar, “Four Reasons Obama Is Probably Worried About Reelection,” National Journal, 6/29/11)
 

The Obama Team Has Already Written Off Indiana 

Obama’s Advisors Say Indiana “Is Out Of Reach” In 2012. “The early focus is on the same collection of states that Mr. Obama carried in 2008, with the exception of Indiana, which advisers believe is out of reach.” (Jeff Zeleny And Jim Rutenberg, “Obama Retools 2008 Machine For Tough Run,” The New York Times, 6/4/11)
 
‘No One Is Counting On Indiana,’ One Democratic Activist Said.” (“Analysis: Tough Fight for Obama in 2012 in Some Key States” Reuters, 7/20/11)
 
Obama May Be Setting Himself Up For Disappointment In Virginia
 
Obama Would Need African American Turnout To Repeat The “Historic” From 2008 To Win Virginia. “One senior Democratic operative involved with key Virginia races believes Obama would need an African-American turnout close to his historic 2008 levels to win—a tough task in a down economy.” (Josh Kraushaar, “Four Reasons Obama Is Probably Worried About Reelection,” National Journal, 6/29/11)
Florida’s “Lackluster” Economy Is Spelling Trouble For Obama
 
Obama’s Economic Record In Florida Is “Not A Recipe For Success.” “The Sunshine State’s 10.7 percent unemployment rate is the nation’s fourth highest. Little has improved economically since the 2010 midterms, when Democrats lost the governor and Senate contests, and saw four Democratic House seats flip to the GOP. For a president who won Florida by just a three-point margin in 2008, that’s not a recipe for success.” (Josh Kraushaar, “The States Of Play,” National Journal, 6/14/11)
 
“A Lackluster Economy In Florida Has Helped Put President Obama's Job Approval Rating Under Water In The Key Swing State, A New Poll Shows.” (Caitlin Huey-Burns, “Poll Shows Obama Struggling In Florida,” Real Clear Politics, 7/12/11)
Obama’s Sinking Approval Ratings New Hampshire Don’t Bode Well For His Chances In 2012

New Hampshire Best “Summarizes Barack Obama’s Decline In Popularity.” “There may not be a state that summarizes Barack Obama's decline in popularity with white voters as well as New Hampshire.” (“Romney Leads Obama In New Hampshire,” Public Policy Polling, 7/7/11)