President Obama’s autumn campaign schedule feels a lot like President Bush’s safe-state only itinerary in 2006: “The White House is putting the finishing touches on a post-Labor Day schedule that will send the president to states where he’s still popular, such as: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California, Obama officials and Democratic operatives said this week.”
Michigan is the only state with a competitive Senate race on that list. Republican Terri Lynn Land is keeping it close with Democrat Rep. Gary Peters. In the governor’s race, incumbent Republican Rick Snyder has held a small lead over Democrat Mark Schauer. Note that PPP found Obama’s approval rating in Michigan at 43 percent in early July.
Democrats are feeling cheerier about their odds in Wisconsin’s governor’s race, where Mary Burke is neck-and-neck with incumbent Republican Scott Walker. (Obama held a Labor Day rally in Wisconsin Monday.) But recent polling puts President Obama’s approval rating in Wisconsin at 44 percent.
In Pennsylvania, Democrat Tom Wolf appears set to easily beat incumbent Republican Tom Corbett. (NRO’s John Fund dissects the Corbett implosion here.) Wolf may not particularly want the presidential help; the most recent Franklin & Marshall poll put President Obama’s approval at 34 percent.
Illinois, President Obama’s home state, offers a Senate race that is not expected to be competitive, with incumbent Dick Durbin heavily favored over Jim Oberweis. But Republicans appear likely to win the governor’s race, with Bruce Rauner enjoying a solid lead over beleaguered incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn. An early August poll put President Obama’s job approval at 45 percent among Illinois registered voters.
In California, Jerry Brown is expected to win reelection over Neel Kashkari. The Field Poll released today found Obama’s job approval at 45 percent — which doesn’t sound so bad, but it’s the lowest ever recorded in that poll.
Back in 2006, the Washington Post looked at then-President Bush’s schedule in deep red states and concluded, “The politician who has done more than anyone else over the past decade to build and expand the Republican Party has become a liability to Republicans in many parts of the country.”
Eight years later, the politician who as done more than anyone else over the past decade to build and expand the Democratic Party has become a liability to Democrats in many parts of the country — perhaps even in some states he won twice.