A Gallup poll taken between July 1 and October 15 reveals that in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, and North Carolina, where the Senate races are up for grabs, Barack Obama’s unpopularity may prove to be a decisive tipping point.
Obama’s approval rating in three of the six states under-performs his approval rating nationally: in Arkansas his approval rating is 29%, in Kansas 33%, and in Iowa 38%. In Georgia (41%) and North Carolina (42%), the rating is roughly the same as the national average; in Colorado his approval rating is 46%.
Of the three states where Obama’s rating is lower than the national average, only Kansas may not be affected as strongly, because the candidate running against the GOP proclaims himself an independent. Arkansas is a particularly touch race for Democrats, as it is the only state of the six where party identification has decidedly changed toward the GOP. Since the summer, 47% of Arkansas residents claimed they were Republicans or leaning that way, and only 31% claimed they were Democrats or leaning that way.
In Iowa, 43% of voters said they were Republicans or leaning that way; 43% said they were Democrats or leaning that way. North Carolina voters also split down the middle; Democrats in Colorado and Georgia claimed a small lead.
An additional factor affecting the Senate races is the presence of a gubernatorial race; North Carolina is the only one of the six states absent of such a race, meaning that in Arkansas and Iowa, where the GOP gubernatorial candidate is leading, the GOP Senate candidate may get a boost.