The Quinnipac University Polling Institute has released a pair of polls today, conducted in the states of Ohio and New Jersey ,about the Republican primary race and the general election matchup between President Obama and the potential GOP nominees.
In the Ohio Republican primary race, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has jumped ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led in early December by a wide margin. Romney now leads both Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum by 10 percent and takes 27 percent of the overall vote.
In the general election, Romney matches up nearly even with Obama in Ohio, which is a critically important state for both Republicans and Democrats. Obama leads in the head-to-head matchup 44 percent to 42 percent, a near dead-heat. Obama has a 48 percent unfavorable to 47 percent favorable rating in Ohio overall.
Against other candidates, Obama is doing even better. Obama leads Gingrich 52 – 38 percent, Santorum 48 – 37 percent, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul 48 – 39 percent.
Ohio, which in the late 19th and early 20th century used to be called “the mother of Republican presidents”, has been a critical purple-colored battleground state for years. Republicans have been making inroads into the Rust Belt states like Wisconsin and Michigan, but Ohio remains the most likely to fall into the Republican column. If the Republican nominee fails to win the state, a victory in the overall presidential election is highly unlikely.
In Democrat controlled, deep-blue New Jersey, Obama leads Republican presidential candidates by wide margins, but his approval ratings are particularly bad. Voters in the state give him only a 48 – 49 percent approval rating and 46 – 49 percent say he deserves to be elected.
“President Barack Obama’s job approval in blue New Jersey is anemic, to say the least, but he’s doing better than the other guys, and that’s what counts. Let’s see what shapes up once the Republicans rally around one candidate,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The poor numbers for Obama in New Jersey and Ohio show that there is a large amount of dissatisfaction with his presidency, but in a head-head matchup with the potential Republican nominees, he still does fairly well.