The good folks at the Wall Street Journal offer this fascinating chart, which pokes a few holes in the conventional wisdom that President Obama’s polling numbers are rising, and are likely to help Hillary Clinton:
Sure, Obama has that nice 49 percent favorable rating overall, but he’s only at 43 percent in the battleground states, and 45 percent unfavorable. Perhaps the weirdest figure is the 40-35 split among voters undecided between Trump and Clinton. This means one out of every four undecided voters doesn’t know or won’t say what they think of President Obama, seven and a half years into his presidency. If you can’t decide whether you feel favorable or unfavorable about Obama by now, you’re really undecided.
Will Obama help Hillary by getting out on the trail and making the case for her? Sure, as long has he’s targeting those voters who already think he’s done a fine job. PPP found Obama’s approval rating in Pennsylvania at a pretty “meh” 46-48 split, but you can send him to Philadelphia and drive up turnout among Democrats there. PPP found the same numbers for Obama in Florida; but the Clinton campaign can send him to Broward County, where he won more than a half-million votes in 2012.
The bigger question will be where and how Hillary wants to differentiate herself from the Obama presidency. Maybe she’s comfortable running as the status quo, but that seems like a giant, risky gamble considering the mood of the country today.