Obama Visits Storm-Ravaged Alabama

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April 29, 2011, 9:53 a.m.

Con­duc­ted 10/7-10 by Selzer & Co.; sur­veyed 721 LVs; mar­gin of er­ror +/- 3.7% (re­lease, 10/12).

Obama As POTUS

- RVs RVs RVs RVs - Now 7/12 3/22 12/7 9/14 Ap­prove 47% 52% 50% 54% 56% Dis­ap­prove 48 44 45 41 37

Fav/Un­fav (IDed By Title)

- RVs RVs - Now 7/12 3/22 H. Clin­ton 64%/31% n/a n/a M. Obama 62 /25 n/a n/a B. Obama 53 /44 55%/40% 53%/42% G. Bush 42 /55 n/a n/a S. Pal­in 38 /54 33 /55 n/a N. Pelosi 34 /52 n/a 31 /48 J. Boehner 29 /32 n/a n/a

House Gen­er­al Elec­tion Match­up

- Now 7/12 Gen­er­ic Dem 42% 40% Gen­er­ic GOP­er 40 48 Oth­er 12 5 Un­dec 6 7

Dir­ec­tion Of U.S.

- RVs RVs RVs RVs - Now 7/12 3/22 12/7 9/14 Right dir. 31% 31% 34% 32% 40% Wrong dir. 64 63 58 59 52

Which Do You See As The Most Im­port­ant Is­sue Fa­cing The U.S. Right Now?

Un­em­ploy­ment/jobs 49% Fed­er­al de­fi­cit/gov’t spend­ing 27 Health care 10 War in Afgh­anistan 7 Im­mig­ra­tion 5 Oth­er 1

Would ___ Make You More/Less Likely To Sup­port A Par­tic­u­lar Can­did­ate?

- Mo­re­Likely Less­Likely Wouldn’tMat­ter Has worked co­oper­at­ively with the oth­er party 67% 12% 19% Sup­ports gov’t spend­ing to cre­ate jobs and stim­u­late the eco­nomy 59 30 10 Sup­ports with­draw­ing U.S. troops from Afgh­anistan, re­gard­less of wheth­er con­di­tions are get­ting bet­ter on the ground 48 34 15 Voted for the health care law 45 40 14 Sup­ports chan­ging the Con­sti­tu­tion to pre­vent chil­dren of non-cit­izens born in the U.S. from auto- mat­ic­ally be­com­ing cit­izens 34 48 15 Has the en­dorse­ment of the Tea Party 30 36 29 Voted to give fin­an­cial as­sist­ance to the auto in­dustry when it was in crisis 28 45 26 Voted to give fin­an­cial as­sist­ance to the bank­ing in­dustry when it was in crisis 22 51 25 Has been an in­cum­bent for many years 16 35 43 Cam­paign was aided by ads paid for by anon. busi­ness groups 9 47 41

If GOP­ers Win Con­trol Of Con­gress In The Nov. Elec­tions, Do You Think Things Would Get Bet­ter/Worse For ___?

- Bet­ter Worse NoChange The wealthy 69% 11% 16% Large cor­por­a­tions 69 13 13 Banks 57 18 18 Small busi­nesses 54 33 10 The U.S. eco­nomy 50 36 12 The middle class 46 40 12 Un­em­ploy­ment 45 35 16 The fed­er­al budget de­fi­cit 44 38 15 For you per­son­ally 41 29 27 Co­oper­a­tion bt­wn parties in Con­gress 30 45 20

Obama Hand­ling ___

- Ap­prove Dis­ap­prove Re­la­tions with oth­er coun­tries 55% 38% Health care 49 40 Eco­nomy 43 53 Cre­at­ing jobs 42 53 Budget de­fi­cit 35 60 Policies on trade with China 28 39

Do You Think The U.S. Can Win The War In Afgh­anistan, Or Do You Think It Is A Lost Cause?

- Now 7/12(RVs) Can win the war 31% 36% Is a lost cause 60 58

Should The Health Care Law Passed Earli­er This Year Be Re­pealed Or Not?

Re­pealed 47% Not re­pealed 42

(For more from this poll, please see today’s BLOOMBERG WH ‘12 story.)

Throughout this year’s elec­tion, I will pose and an­swer key ques­tions at crit­ic­al mo­ments dur­ing the cam­paign. On New Hamp­shire primary elec­tion day, I shared the five things I was watch­ing for.

Here is how it all shook out.

GOP Can­did­ate Mitt Rom­ney after the New Hamp­shire Primary (CNN).

1. What was the mar­gin of vic­tory?

Four years ago, Mitt Rom­ney snagged 32.6 per­cent of the vote, but lost the New Hamp­shire primary — even though he had gov­erned a neigh­bor­ing state — to Sen. John Mc­Cain. This time he ar­rived with Mc­Cain at his side, and with a threshold to meet: Ec­lipse his 2008 second-place fin­ish or fall short of ex­pect­a­tions.

By the time the votes were coun­ted on Tues­day night, Rom­ney had scored nearly 40 per­cent of the vote, even with four oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans act­ively cam­paign­ing in the state, and an­oth­er in­act­ive but still on the bal­lot.

Run­ner-up Rep. Ron Paul clocked a dis­tant 23 per­cent. And former Utah Gov. Jon Hunts­man, who staged a minor comeback in the cam­paign’s clos­ing days, scored al­most 17 per­cent to come in third.

These mar­gins mat­ter be­cause, head­ing in­to South Car­o­lina’s Jan. 21 primary, Rom­ney’s most vig­or­ous com­pet­it­ors ap­pear to be the guys who landed in the dis­tant single di­gits — Newt Gin­grich, Rick San­tor­um, and Rick Perry.

Ex­pect those three to make a vig­or­ous next — and per­haps last — stand in the Pal­metto State.

Mo­mentum is tough to stop once it be­gins. And in a year when voters say what they want most is to de­feat Barack Obama, Rom­ney’s goal is to be­come a con­sensus can­did­ate as quickly as pos­sible. Gal­lup re­ports he has gained 10 points na­tion­ally since Christ­mas.

2. Can Jon Hunts­man sur­vive?

An­swer: Kind of.

Hunts­man began lower­ing his defin­i­tion of suc­cess days be­fore the New Hamp­shire primary, telling me he only had to ex­ceed “mar­ket ex­pect­a­tions.” Well, since the mar­ket had largely coun­ted him out, that was not hard to do.

He did re­bound a bit, but it re­mains un­clear how Hunts­man — per­ceived as mod­er­ate at best and an Obama par­tis­an at worst — can make his mark with a more con­ser­vat­ive elect­or­ate. Plus, since Rom­ney began flaunt­ing his dom­in­ance with­in days of the New Hamp­shire win (mul­tiple en­dorse­ments, $19 mil­lion in the bank), Hunts­man is go­ing to have to start match­ing that right away if he is to be taken ser­i­ously in Flor­ida on Jan. 31.

3. Does Ron Paul have a path for­ward?

Sure. It’s hard to see if that path takes him to the ac­tu­al White House, but Paul draws crowds, changes minds, and of­ten man­ages to cut through the muck.

Wit­ness his de­fense of Rom­ney against at­tacks from Gin­grich and Perry this week over his back­ground as a ven­ture cap­it­al­ist.

GOP can­did­ate Rep. Ron Paul ad­dress­ing sup­port­ers in Hol­lis, N.H. (Flick­r­CC/Gage Skid­more)

Shouldn’t Re­pub­lic­ans be ap­plaud­ing busi­ness, not tak­ing after someone who did well at it? Rush Limbaugh and Sean Han­nity agreed, and sud­denly Paul was in the Re­pub­lic­an main­stream again. With one caveat.

Exit polls show Paul did as well as he did in New Hamp­shire be­cause he ap­pealed, not to re­gistered Re­pub­lic­ans, but to new voters who did not have to de­clare a party. These people were of­ten Demo­crats who chose to vote in the GOP primary. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how well he fares in a closed primary that does not al­low such cros­sov­er vot­ing.

4. Was Rick San­tor­um’s Iowa break­through an an­om­aly?

Maybe. But he nev­er had much of a chance to score an up­set in a state like New Hamp­shire, where Re­pub­lic­ans think of them­selves more as fisc­al con­ser­vat­ives than so­cial con­ser­vat­ives.

However, in a year where great chunks of money are ar­riv­ing in the form of su­per PACs seem­ingly every day, and in a state like South Car­o­lina, where ad­vert­ising is so much cheap­er to buy, he may yet be able to gain some trac­tion.

5. How low will Newt go?

He can’t seem to make up his mind. Al­though Gin­grich def­in­itely has Rom­ney in his sights, he ap­pears to shift the in­tens­ity of his at­tack from day to day. The Gin­grich ads take on Rom­ney for chan­ging his mind on abor­tion, and he has also faul­ted Rom­ney for his private sec­tor back­ground. Gin­grich also seems to real­ize he has to give voters someone to vote for — not just against.

But at what point does Gin­grich be­gin to real­ize how much am­muni­tion he is hand­ing Demo­crats? Rom­ney sup­port­ers are anxious to re­mind oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans of that fact, in part with a non-subtle su­per PAC-fun­ded ad that says in part that, “Newt at­tacks be­cause he has more bag­gage than the air­lines.”

All of the at­tacks, coun­ter­at­tacks, and bag­gage will be on dis­play between now and the South Car­o­lina primary. I’ll be on the ground for the PBS News­Hour and Wash­ing­ton Week next week to pose five more ques­tions.

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