Pollster Glen Bolger wants Republicans to start thinking about the Big Nine. No, that’s not another collegiate football conference:
The nine states that George W. Bush won in 2004 but flipped over to Barack Obama in 2008: Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.
In six of the states, he had a higher disapproval rating than approval rating during the first half of the year — Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and Virginia. In North Carolina, his approval rating is dead even — 46% approve/46% disapprove. Only in Iowa (49% approve/42% disapprove) and Florida (47% approve/45% disapprove) is his approval rating still a net positive.
Despite Obama’s troubles, Bolger notes that the GOP nominee won’t have an enormous margin for error:
The Republican nominee has to run the table in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and either Virginia or New Mexico to win. These data makes a compelling case that the Tar Heel state is joining Ohio and Florida as the must-win battlegrounds that will determine the next President of the United States.
Not included in the Big Nine is New Hampshire, where Obama’s approval is 41.3 percent and his disapproval is 51.1 percent. That state is only four electoral votes, but I’m sure the GOP nominee would love to have every state he (or she?) can get. Republicans would also argue that Obama’s troubles with working-class whites will give them much better than usual chances in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.