The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 21% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -20 (see trends).
Thirty-eight percent (38%) believe America’s best days are still in the future, while 44% believe they have come and gone.
In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney leads by eight in South Carolinaand by a wide margin in Florida. President Obama currently leads Congressman Ron Paul by six and Romney by three in hypothetical 2012 matchups.
The Presidential Approval Index is calculated by subtracting the number who Strongly Disapprove from the number who Strongly Approve. It is updated daily at 9:30 a.m. Eastern (sign up for free daily e-mail update). Updates are also available on Twitter and Facebook.
Overall, 45% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the president's job performance. Fifty-four percent (54%) at least somewhat disapprove.
Thirty-two percent (32%) of Likely U.S. Voters will get most of their political news in 2012 from cable television, while 24% will primarily rely on the Internet and 22% on traditional TV network news. Additionally, 25% now routinely get news and political updates on their phone or some other portable device. That’s up from 19% in 2010.
Rasmussen's poll results are interesting, because they are very consistent with the analysis of Larry Sabato and others who maintain that about 20% of the electorate can be counted on to vote for Obama, "no matter what." They are solid liberal voters who have historically voted the same way and will never change. About 40% of conservative Republicans will always vote the same way, and cannot be appealed to. That leaves the other 40% in the moderate category, neither strongly Democrat or Republican. It's that 40% in the middle who constantly make or break presidential campaigns.
There is little doubt remaining that Mitt Romney will be the presumptive Republican nominee coming out of South Carolina and Florida, where he now holds commanding leads in both states. Rasmussen says he's up in South Carolina by 8% over Gingrich, but the Weekly Standard says the margin is 11% and Reuters has him up by as much as 21%. Take your pick, he's up across the boards. If he pulls off those victories in succession, on the heels of his narrow margin in Iowa and a wide margin in New Hampshire, there will be no stopping the express train after that as he rolls on across the country to the presumptive nomination.
Jon Huntsman will announce today that he is dropping out and will support Mitt Romney. No one is sure at this point whether that endorsement will help or hurt Romney, but it winnows the field. The three remaining "social conservatives" if that's what they are - Santorum, Perry and Gingrich - will continue to split the votes among themselves, and Ron Paul has a growing and loyal constituency representing what the future may portend. As the oldest candidate in the race (78), it's amazing that he attracting the youth protest vote in record numbers. They seem to like his anti-establishment message a lot. Why? I watched some of them being interviewed last night, and they know he won't send them to war for one thing and he'll do everything he can to arrest the profligate spending that is threatening the value of our currency. Paul won't win the nomination, but solid support for his libertarian message will represent a meaningful voice at the nominating convention and beyond. I believe that is a healthy trend in the right direction.
The only foreseeable threat on the horizon for Romney may be the possibility of a third-party candidacy. Such a threat may be muted, however, by the need of most in the electorate to overthrow the Obama "regime."
All the pundits in the world notwithstanding, Mitt Romney is increasingly seen by the electorate (watch the Rasmussen video on his website) as the only candidate in the field who can stop Barack Obama, and that seems to be far and away the most important factor in breaking down the electorate, many of whom feel as though they were hoodwinked by Obama in 2008. That question about electability seems paramount, and yields 43% of voters in South Carolina who think Romney is the guy to beat Obama. The level of dismay with Obama is seen reflected in the latest Rasmussen poll.
That said, "stuff" happens that no one can predict and there are still ten months to go before the general election, and it's always tough to beat a sitting president.
Romney's up by 22% in the latest Florida polling.