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Obama on the Campaign Trail: Are Democrats Better Off With Bill Clinton?

4 years ago
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President Obama is not on the ballot this year, so the comparison of how good (or bad) his political coattails are compared to 2008 is kind of apples and oranges. But there is little question that his sagging popularity and approval rating is not helping most Democratic candidates (except possibly for raising money) and, in many cases, hurting them.

There's even evidence in a poll released Tuesday by Gallup that former President Bill Clinton is the better advocate for Democrats on the campaign trail than Obama, particularly among independents -- who just about every survey shows have markedly soured on Obama this year.

Gallup says, based on a survey conducted Oct. 14-17, that Clinton "has the potential to do more good for Democratic candidates on whose behalf he campaigns" than does Obama.

Barack Obama and Bill ClintonAmong registered Democrats, 53 percent say Clinton campaigning for a candidate makes it more likely that they would vote for that person, compared to 48 percent for Obama. Forty-four percent say Obama campaigning for a candidate would make no difference to their vote, compared to 39 percent who say that about Clinton.

But the bigger difference is with independents, among whom 21 percent say they would be swayed by Clinton, compared to 12 percent for Obama. Driving the point home further is the fact that 39 percent of independents say Obama campaigning for a candidate would make them less likely to support that person, compared to 23 percent who feel that way about Clinton.

Among Republicans, 9 percent say the Clinton embrace would make it more likely for them to support a candidate, compared to 2 percent for Obama. Seventy-one percent say Obama's support for a candidate would make it less likely for them to vote for him or her, compared to 46 percent who feel that way about Clinton.

Most individual state polls that ask whether getting Obama out on the stump helps Democrats show that a plurality or majority of voters say it makes no difference. But several of these polls make clear that Obama has been a real drag on the Democrats in some important races.

One example is Ohio, where a Quinnipiac poll conducted Oct. 12-17 shows first-term Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland stuck 10 points behind former Republican Rep. John Kasich. Fifty-six percent of Ohio voters overall disapprove of the job Obama and his numbers among independents are even worse. Quinnipiac's Peter Brown said, "President Barack Obama's 63 percent disapproval rating among independent voters is an extremely heavy anchor around Ted Strickland's neck."

A Public Policy Polling survey conducted Oct. 17-18 of the Senate race in Pennsylvania shows disapproval of Obama's performance at 51 percent among voters in general and 55 percent among independents. While the poll showed Democrat Joe Sestak catching up to Republican Pat Toomey after trailing in many other polls, PPP's Tom Jensen said, "If there is some bad news for Sestak in this poll it's that the remaining undecideds are not very happy with the president -- if they ended up voting in the Senate race based on their feelings about Obama, it would turn Toomey's 1-point deficit into a 1-point lead."

A CBS News/Knowledge Networks poll, conducted Oct. 7-14, of voters who supported Obama in 2008 finds that 67 percent say they will vote for the Democratic candidate in their House district, but 8 percent plan to defect to the Republican and 21 percent appear on the fence, saying it "depends." (Story; Poll Data.)

Independents backed Obama in a big way in 2008, but the poll says that this year just 42 percent of independents who supported him will support the Democratic candidate, while 12 percent will back a Republican (38 percent are still undecided).

Obama still gets an 82 percent job approval rating from those who voted for him, but when it comes to the feelings they have about Washington these days, only 4 percent describe themselves as enthusiastic and 37 percent say they are just satisfied. Forty-five percent are dissatisfied and 13 percent are angry. When it comes to Obama's 2008 mantra of "change," 51 percent of his presidential election supporters say he has brought some, 16 percent say "a lot," and 32 percent say not much or none.

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October 25 2010 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this is a proud demoractic person; and respect and admire the young president.and i know who i am' do not approuve of the way this so called show is being played out,i think for so called mature adults people are acting very in mature and cold blooded.what are the children saying about this so called election. it suppose to be about next generation the for whoever you want america is in trouble. and i do not see it getting better to much division and no common sense. if the tea party or the republicans win then what. it you the people that have a problem untril people deal with themselves no happiness, by the way you will learn that no party is better than another.time is short in case people havent noticed,hate your president always been the whipping stick all will tell you this.whatever you sow; you reap it so get ready people.

October 20 2010 at 1:41 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

People still need jobs. Businesses have already proven by sitting on profits that they are not going to do a lot of hiring under this administration because of all of the unknowns. Please think about that when you vote.

October 20 2010 at 12:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

We should of Voted for the Clintons, in the last election. At least we would of known, what we would of been getting. Obama and Pelosi are a mess. And have added to Bush's Big mess. Which has created a mega mess. Centrist Goverment is a viable answer. Not too far to the Left. Not too far to the Right. The People of America need to create a new political party. For the People. The Dems And Republicans are not for the common interest of the American People as a Whole. In the middle. Lets get rid of them.

October 19 2010 at 11:25 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bnjm69's comment

This is what the democrats did that you think is a mess. Saved the banking industry from complete collapse and the country from another depression. Saved the American auto industry from bankruptcy and many auto workers jobs. Worked with health insurance companies to broaden health care for many more people and those who were denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. Pumped more money into local governments that saved many police, fireman, and teacher's jobs. We would be even more out of the Bush mess if the Republicans incongres din't block every proposal that Obama and the Dem congress made.

October 20 2010 at 12:33 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I had the honor to attend the rally in Batesville, AR. on Wed at UACCB for Chad Causey. I wish all of you could have the honor to listen to Bill Clinton. He was amazing! The messsage was: Get the facts on politics before making your decision. Don't be played by the Republicans, get the facts. Chad Causey was great also, but Bill Clinton, you just had to be there. Go Democrats, we can win. VOTE

October 19 2010 at 10:51 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Debbie's comment

All politicians lie so much it is impossible to get the facts. For me, the election this year is about the lesser of the evils and hope for the best. One thing is for sure and certain. People need jobs and businesses are not going to hire under the current administration because there are too many unknowns.

October 20 2010 at 12:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

It doesn't matter who campaigns for the democrats. They are going to lose the majority in Congress because of what damage they've done in the four years that they've been in control. What credibility does Clinton have? Look at what he did! He acted as though he was above the law when he was in office for 8 years. It took a Republican Congress to force him to balance the budget and to move him more toward the center. November 2 will allow the majority of Americans to finally be heard. Obama and the Democrats totally disregarded the wishes of the American public and now the voters will have their say !!

October 19 2010 at 10:34 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

Here's what amazes me about the "MAJORITY" in this country of ours; It took George Bush and the Republicans 8 years to decimate our economy and there is no commotion from the MAJORITY. Obama takes office and the idiot "MAJORITY" thinks that "he" can fix the economic and woes created by REPUBLICANISM that we are suffering from in the span of two years. Bush lied to the people of this country about IRAQ which led the U.S. into a war / invasion of IRAQ on top of the ongoing war that we were already engaged in with Afghanistan. Billions of dollars are being funneled into theSE wars and people want to know why our economy is suffering? Most, if not all REPUBLICANS would like for the government "stay out of their businesses" yet, we have seen what happens when government controls are relaxed; WALLSTREET TAKES ADVANTAGE OF MAIN STREET; what's more, REPUBLICANS don't say a word about these same companies OUTSOURCING jobs to foreign companies. The JOBS that could easily help feed the families of those who are unemployed. All of this is done so that THEY can earn mega profits. I don't hear PALIN or the TEA PARTY CLOWNS denouncing these "Patriotic Companies". What they rather do is lay the blame of the economy at the feet of Barack Obama. Perhaps if he were 100% white, they would say what a great job he's doing! The "majority" of this country are bigoted idiots who would vote against their own interest instead of voting for a person or persons who are making a valiant attemptd to correct this ship of ours that we call an ECONOMY.

October 19 2010 at 10:17 PM Report abuse -16 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to DeeDub's comment

I guess it was Bush who "decimated" the world economy as well? Wow, what a stupid comments. The world economy is in a recession... not just the US. You can't blame Bush or anyone else for down cycles. However, you can blame Obama for stupid policies that result in over the top spending that we can't afford. It will take years and years to pay back what Obama has done. You may want to take an Economic class and learn something before you spout off about something you don't understand.

October 19 2010 at 10:37 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

Obama continues Bush's Iraq War, and has expanded and thus become the "owner" of the Afgan War. Clinton was the owner of a personal life which became a public mess. But his administratin didn't alter, in the most negative way, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. For those who subscribe to this viewpoint..Clinton clearly is the more desirable choice!!!!!

October 19 2010 at 10:16 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Would rather see Clinton, with all his flaws, as Commander in Chief than the current President. That's just my opinion.

October 19 2010 at 10:09 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply

If only Bill Clinton could run again....I would vote for him.

October 19 2010 at 10:06 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


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