Voter opposition to Obama hardens

at 06:30 AM ET, 08/23/2011

As of today, both Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul would have a fighting chance in a matchup with President Obama in 2012.

That’s according to a new Gallup survey, which provides some of the strongest indication yet that Obama’s position in the polls has eroded — and also that nobody in the GOP has distinguished themselves as the most electable opponent.

The survey shows all four top GOP presidential candidates — Bachmann, Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry — within the margin of error against Obama. Romney leads by 2 percent and Perry is tied, while the two House members trail narrowly.

But the Bachmann and Paul numbers are particularly illustrative of the race ahead.

The two House members are purported by some experts and critics to not have what it takes to be a general election candidate. Bachmann is too divisive and too conservative, the argument goes, and Paul is too much of a libertarian to unify the GOP base.

As of right now, though, both of them have essentially the same level of support as Romney or Perry in a matchup with Obama. And everyone but Bachmann leads Obama among independents.

That tells us a few things.

One is that Obama is in considerably more trouble than he was before. We already saw last week his approval rating dipping below 40 percent, and polling neck and neck with Bachmann and Paul suggests that there is a growing segment of the population that is pretty dead-set against voting for the president.

In head-to-head matchups, Obama leads Paul 47 percent to 45 percent, and he leads Bachmann 48 percent to 44 percent.

Previous polls — including a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll and a Reuters/Ipsos poll — have showed Paul trailing in that matchup by double digits. Bachmann has also trailed significantly in most recent polling.

There is some erosion among Republicans when Bachmann and Paul are listed as the GOP nominee — while Romney and Perry take more than 90 percent of Republicans, Bachmann takes 86 percent and Paul takes 82 percent — but the fact that they are still competitive among independents shows that those independents are ready to vote for someone else.

At the same time, though, the fact that Romney and Perry aren’t polling that much better than Bachmann and Paul suggests they haven’t distinguished themselves as the more electable alternatives in the GOP primary field.

It’s still early of course, and this is just one poll. But it shows that there is an opportunity there for the GOP, and that the opposition to Obama has hardened quite a bit in recent months.

AFL-CIO Forms super PAC: The AFL-CIO labor coalition is the latest entrant on the increasingly-crowded ‘super PAC’ scene.

The new political action committee would allow labor organizations to raise unlimited amounts of money and steer more money to state legislative fights like the one just fought in Wisconsin. These PACs, made possible by last year’s Citizens United Supreme Court decision, cannot coordinate with candidates.

“The essential idea is that changes in the law for the first time really allow the labor movement to speak directly to workers, whether they have collective bargaining agreements or not,” AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer told the AP. “Before, most political resources went to our own membership.”

Georgia GOP’s redistricting map targets Barrow: Georgia Republicans have released their first draft redistricting map, and it adds a new Republican-leaning seat while also going after Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.).

The new map adds the state’s new 14th district in the northeastern part of the state and should be won by a Republican. It also draws Barrow’s home area and base of Savannah out of his 12th district and moves more of the Republican-leaning Augusta area into it.

The district moves from a Democratic-leaning swing district to a Republican-leaning district. But Barrow, who has signaled he will run in the 12th even though he wouldn’t live in it, has been targeted by redistricting before and survived.

The map also shored up freshman Rep. Austin Scott (R) in the middle of the state and makes Rep. Sanford Bishop’s (D) district safer in the process by adding Demcoratic-leaning Macon.

Republicans, who control all levers of the redistricting process, currently hold eight of the state’s 13 congressional districts. If they can beat Barrow and win the new seat, they would hold 10 districts out of 14.

Four to attend DeMint’s conference: Four presidential candidates will be at Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) Palmetto Freedom Forum, the tea party senator announced Monday.

Bachmann, Paul, Perry and businessman Herman Cain will all be present at the event, which takes place Sept. 5 in Columbia, S.C.

Invitations have also been extended to Romney, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman and former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) didn’t meet the polling threshold for an invitation.

Fixbits:

Bachmann isn’t backing off her $2-per-gallon gas pledge.

Palin defends Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who on Monday avoided a challenge from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). And some in the tea party aren’t happy about Palin’s praise.

A new poll conducted for Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder’s (R) embattled governor campaign shows him trailing Gov. Jay Nixon (D), 48 percent to 41 percent.

60 percent of House incumbents aren’t doing town halls this summer, according to a new survey.

Check out Democratic redistricting guru Mark Gersh’s take on the final California redistricting maps.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will speak at the Reagan Library tonight.

Must-reads:

For Obama, a moment to savor, if briefly” — Mark Landler, New York Times

Libya: How leading from behind can work” — Ben Smith, Politico

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