Gallup is reaffirming what many political analysts have long suspected. Much of the electoral map is relatively decided, and if the GOP is able to field a nominee who appeals to independents, Hispanics and seniors (and there is not a conservative 3rd party presidential bid), the 2012 battle for the White House will likely be decided by a handful battleground states. A national job approval rating of below of 48% or lower is a positive sign for the eventual GOP nominee, but the real key will likely be President Obama’s approval rating in the battleground states: CO, FL, IA, MI, NV, NH, NC, OH, PA, VA and WI.
As President Obama prepares for his re-election bid next year, his approval ratings nationally and at the state level bear watching. Typically, presidents with approval ratings above 50% get re-elected, though George W. Bush won re-election in 2004 with a 48% approval rating at the time of the election.
Thus, a key for Obama is to try to push his national approval rating back above the 50% mark before November 2012, and to have it at or above that level in as many states as possible, given that the presidential election will be determined by the winner of the greater number of state electoral votes. Currently, a majority of states show approval ratings below 50%, though whether Obama is victorious will also depend in part on who his GOP challenger is, whether a significant third-party candidate runs, and the degree to which the president’s supporters turn out to vote.