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Obama Struggling In Pennsylvania

My column yesterday looked at how President Obama's path to re-election in 2012 will depend increasingly on states with upscale demographics (diverse states with white-collar workforce), and less on the blue-collar Rust Belt states that Democrats traditionally rely on.

A new Franklin and Marshall poll surveying Pennsylvania public opinion illustrates why the president's political team should be concerned about the latter group.

The poll shows nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvanians rating Obama's job performance as fair or poor, with only 35 percent rating it as excellent or good.

His overall favorability rating is also upside-down, with 44 percent viewing him unfavorably and 41 percent viewing him favorably.

The continued economic woes in the Rust Belt are contributing to the president's struggles. The percentage of respondents who said things will be worse off in the next year spiked 11 points since last August - from 15 percent to 26 percent.

Needless to say, it looks like Pennsylvania will be a true battleground in 2012 - much more challenging than last election when Obama coasted with 54 percent of the vote.

It's no coincidence then, as the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, that Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina has been telling donors that the president's support has dipped noticeably in Pennsylvania and Michigan - two states that have been comfortably in the Democratic column.

The poll, conducted between March 10-14, surveyed 420 registered voters. The survey's margin of error is +/- 4.8 percent.

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