Obama’s Decline In Popularity Won’t Affect MS-01
One of the common themes regarding the 2010 elections is that the fate of Democrats in the House and Senate will be tied to President Obama- and his popularity in that particular district or state. Many elected officials from Atlantic coast states to the Midwest and out to the Mountain West rode into office during the peak of Obama’s popularity and/ or the bottom of George W. Bush’s/ the Republicans popularity.
Things have begun to change. The GOP hasn’t become popular by any stretch, but Obama has seen his approval ratings fall to around 50 percent give or take. However, his approval among black voters continues to hover in the 90 percent plus range. That is a good thing- except for the fact that blacks are often overrepresented in racially drawn districts underrepresented elsewhere. What does this mean? In the key battleground districts, black voters are often few and far between. If you calculated Obama’s approval rating among white voters, it would be somewhere in the upper 30s, low 40s (if you’re being generous). And in those races in places like Pennsylvania or Virginia or Ohio or Colorado- especially where the incumbent is tied to the president’s policies- look for Obama to be an increasingly negative influence.
That said, don’t look for the storyline to play out in Mississippi. According to the internal poll released by the Alan Nunnelee camp, Obama has an approval rating of 36 percent in the district (you can knock internal polling all you want but that is about spot on). He won just 38 percent of the vote a little less than two years ago. So while some districts are seeing a decline of 10 or 15 points for Obama from the 2008 election, you won’t see it in MS-01, or MS-04 for that matter. Obama wasn’t popular here in 2008- when voters supported Travis Childers and Gene Taylor…and not much has changed today. I am not saying Childers or Taylor is a lock for re-election because of this, just noting that voters we’re obviously fine saying yes to Democratic Congressman two years ago and no to Obama on the same day.
The only reason Obama’s ratings would be a factor in Mississippi is if he suddenly began losing black support, and I don’t see that happening any time soon.