Signs of Trouble for Obama in Iowa

Two interesting pieces emerged today following Obama’s 3-day odyssey in Iowa.  First an analyses of voter registration in Iowa demonstrating an embedded weakness for Obama in 2012 and the second, an on-the-ground report of the politically troubling flip-side to Obama photo-ops during his barnstorming.

At an analysis of filing records reveals voter registration in Iowa has swung like a pendulum over the last 3 election cycles.

  • In 2004 voter registration was fairly even at Rep: 31%, Dem 31%, Ind: 38%.  This resulted in a Bush victory by 1%.
  • In 2008 during a genuine wave of Democrat enthusiasm registration titled heavily in favor of Obama, Rep: 30%, Dem: 35%, Ind: 36% resulting in an Obama 10% win.
  • In 2012, Republicans have beaten back the tide and more than reversed Obama’s advantage with registrations currently Rep: 33%, Dem: 32%, Ind: 35%. The aggregate #s are even worse for Obama with Republicans at their highest highs (620,584) in this comparison and Democrats at their lowest lows (598,995) in registrations.

Despite the Republican registration advantage, Independents in the state (659,838) will determine the ultimate outcome.  There is not a lot of data on how Independents are breaking in Iowa right now but Romney was leading by 11 percentage points in the recent Purple Strategies survey portending really bad news for Obama in the Hawkeye State.

In the second Iowa story of the day, Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics looks underneath the goodwill and pomp generated by the President’s 3-days in Iowa and found a nagging weaknesses that may flip the Hawkeye state back into the Republican column this Fall:

[D]espite the meticulously scripted events and adoring crowds during the president’s three-day visit, there were small signs along the way of trouble in the heartland.

Day 1, Des Moines: he Obama campaign was thrilled with the resulting photo-op: Regular-guy president buys a round of Budweisers for a dozen or so fairgoers, who break into a cheeky cheer (“four more beers!”) in support of his re-election…the third-generation owner of the 65-year-old institution known as the Bud Tent, was less than thrilled with the visit…in a tough economic environment the security requirements of the presidential stop, which included a full Secret Service sweep of the area, meant the beer tent had to be shut down for nearly two hours during its busiest time of day, Cunningham complained. He claimed that Obama’s appearance cost him some $25,000 in revenue, which he described wryly as making a “campaign contribution against my will.” “I wouldn’t have voted for him before,” Cunningham told the Des Moines Register. “I won’t again.”

Day 2, central Iowa: Obama visited a wind farm. Again, the campaign was thrilled with the picture-perfect optics of the event. But shortly after Obama’s caravan departed the owner of the farm and his son Jarret let it be known that although the president was “gracious, personable, and very respectful” neither man will be voting for him in November. “It is important to not get caught up in the president’s glamorous re-election words and remember President Obama’s first term record and rhetoric does not represent Middle America, entrepreneurs, small business owners and farmers,” Jarret Heil said in a statement to the media.

Day 3, Davenport: the national press corps was surprised to find Ross Murty, the co-owner of the Village Corner Deli, which catered the event, wearing a black T-shirt with big, bold white letters that read, “Government didn’t build my business. I did” — a dig at Obama’s now-infamous remark in Virginia last month about small businesses.

If Obama’s three-day trek across Iowa proved that he could still rekindle a spark from 2008, the unscripted moments of his journey also proved that the Hawkeye State, like much of the rest of the country, is deeply divided over the president’s re-election.

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