As some of us wrote yesterday, President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party could risk major losses in the “Big 10” swathe of Midwestern states on Election Day. The president’s campaign swing this week will take him to two of those states – Wisconsin and Iowa. He’ll also visit Albuquerque, N.M., and Richmond, Va.
Each of the four states he’ll hit this week was a feather in the president’s electoral cap in 2008. Three of them - New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Iowa – were decided by a less than a percentage point in both the 2000 and 2004 elections. Obama turned each one blue, with victories of 15, 14, and 9 points, respectively, over GOP nominee John McCain.
Obama also snagged Virginia’s 13 electoral votes with a six point victory in 2008, the first time a Democrat had won the state in a presidential election since Lyndon Johnson carried it in 1964.
But, for many Democrats, that November sure feels like a long time ago.
The Des Moines Register released new poll numbers Tuesday in advance of Obama's visit, showing that 55 percent of Iowans are dissatisfied with Obama, up from 50 percent in February. The president's approval rating in New Mexico dipped to 45 percent in August, an eight point drop from the previous year, according to an Albuquerque Journal poll.
Democratic candidates in the states where Air Force One will touch down this week are hoping that voters who supported the president nearly two years ago will be energized when he appears there five weeks before the midterm elections. But the 2010 numbers don’t look encouraging for the president’s party.
Iowa’s Democratic Senate candidate and incumbent governor both face deep deficits in support, per the Register survey. In Wisconsin, incumbent Sen. Russ Feingold and gubernatorial hopeful Tom Barrett both trailed GOP opponents among likely voters in a recent TIME/CNN poll. And Diane Denish, New Mexico’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has also trailed in a series of recent polls.