An interesting article in the NY Times last week highlighted the shift in Obama's 2012 re-election strategy that has become necessary as blocs of voters in key states abandon Obama.
A companion to the Times' article is this chart which shows the band of states which went for Obama by narrow margins. Obama's continued slide in job approval in many of these states would signal that he is unlikely to win them again in 2012. But, head to head match ups between Obama and top GOP presidential contenders continue to give him a slight lead in many of these states.
Ohio and Pennsylvania were key to Obama's victory in 2008. Both are a problem now. In Florida, Virginia and North Carolina it's the same story. Even in big states like New York and California which Obama is expected to carry he is in trouble.
For political junkies who follow these things, the electoral college map calculator is a useful tool to run through various electoral strategies and analyze possible outcomes as the race unfolds.
Obama Hasn't Begun to Fight!
With all this bad news for Obama it might be easy for Republicans to get complacent about the outcome. DON'T! Obama is planning one of the nastiest campaigns in memory funded with a billion dollar war chest which doesn't even count the hundreds of millions more that will be dumped into the race by the progressive political axis.
As the Times' article states, Obama is hoping to replicate the Colorado model from 2010 which successfully fought off the Tea Party challenge in the race for senate. Even though the polls showed the GOP challenger with a slight lead the Dems were able to win. I have repeatedly warned (1,2,3) that the Colorado model, relying on that axis of progressive groups with their permanent, paid political infrastructure were sufficient to overcome tea party enthusiasm channeled through 20th century political models based largely on volunteers.
In 2008 the Obama campaign funded a massive field operation with paid staff in key states. This chart shows where the money went:
Once Obama's billion dollar attack machine is fully up and running we can expect to see similar programs in key states.
I do not want to overstate Obama's strengths. I very much doubt he will be able to take Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina. Florida also looks like a problem. And with Pennsylvania and perhaps Wisconsin possibly coming into play his re-election headache is serious.
But one thing is for sure: unless the GOP has learned it's lesson and is willing and able to create a more effective field operation based on professional staff and not volunteers, we may be the ones waking up with a headache on November 7, 2012!