Coattails, but for whom?

In all likelihood, President Obama won’t be needing to divert much time from his usual pursuits — such as looking busy in the Gulf region and badgering Israel — in order to campaign for congressional Democrats. The latest poll by PPP shows there is almost no significant demographic group that would not be more put off than impressed by Obama’s endorsement of a candidate. Specifically:

* 42 percent of the women surveyed said Obama’s endorsement would make them less likely to vote for someone, with 36 percent of women viewing the president’s support positively.
* 55 percent of men took a negative view of Obama’s backing, while only 30 percent of men said the president’s endorsement increased a candidate’s chance of getting their votes.
* 54 percent of those identifying themselves as “independent” or “other,” rather than Republican or Democrat, now view an Obama endorsement as a factor swaying them against voting for a candidate for office.
* Only 23 percent of such independent voters said his endorsement would make them more likely to support someone; the remaining 23 percent of independents said it didn’t matter or they didn’t know.
* A huge proportion of those independent voters — 57 percent — disapprove of the way the president is handling the ongoing BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, while only 27 percent approve.
* 44 percent of Hispanics said they would be less likely to vote for someone President Obama endorses, while only 33 percent were more likely. Among whites, the comparison was 55 percent to 27 percent. Blacks, however, were another story, with only 13 percent viewing an Obama endorsement dimly and 70 percent saying it would make them more likely to vote for someone. And 83 percent of blacks said they approved of Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil disaster.

The last sentence, unfortunately, is not a typo.
Even in Illinois, only 26 percent of voters say they would be more inclined to back an Obama endorsed candidate, compared to 40 percent who say his support would be more likely to turn them against a candidate.
The poll confirms that the 2010 election won’t be about the economy per se, or about Obamacare. It will be about the broadly held perception that Obama pulled a bait-and-switch on the electorate and needs to be reined in. Under these circumstances, an Obama endorsement would tend to remind voters why they should vote for the Republican, thus doing the Democrat more harm than good.
PPP is a respected firm and is associated with the Democratic party. Thus, I am not surprised to hear that its latest numbers are being taken quite seriously in offices of certain Democratic members.


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