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New Hampshire independents abandoning Obama in droves: Poll

February 4, 2010 |  6:08 pm

Democrat president Barack Obama at a New Hampshire town hall meeting 2-2-10

The crucial independent voters of notoriously independent New Hampshire, the ones who were so vital to Barack Obama's 2008 victory there and nationally, are fast falling out of love with the Democrat.

A new WMUR Granite State Poll of 500 voters by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center finds the president's support has slipped below 50% now. In the early 2008 Democratic primary there, voters preferred Hillary Clinton to Obama, 39 to 36. But come November they gave the Illinoisan 54% to John McCain's 45%.

Now, only 48% approve of Obama's presidential job, and 47% disapprove. The Democrat's decline mirrors a national trend though slightly lower.

The new New Hampshire numbers reveal that the candidate who vowed to change the polarization of American politics has indeed done so, but not by dispelling it. Voters there are now....

...polarized about him, not George W. Bush; with only 5% of the state's voters remaining neutral on the current White House occupant.

Obama's New Hampshire approval is down 7 percentage points since October but more than twice that (18 points) since his Inauguration Day.

New Hampshire GOP voters never have approved of Obama. But the new poll shows his support among Democrats has slipped too, from 91% in October to 84% today. That's still overwhelming support for someone not on any ballot for 33 months. But a bad trend if feelings about the Democrat in the White House carry over to the midterm elections this fall.

Among the all-important independent voters in New Hampshire, Obama's decline has been most dramatic. It now stands at 39%, a 28 percentage point drop since October, or about 2 percentage points per week.

This despite Obama's well-attended town hall in Nashua on Tuesday, a day that coincided with part of the polling.

His favorability ratings are also down, though slightly less so. Personally, 52% still feel favorable toward the president and 41% don't. Again, only 6% are on the sidelines as neutral.

The main sticking point for Obama is the economy; the longer he's in office the more respondents hold him accountable for high unemployment and other sour economic news.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press (Obama at Nashua town hall).

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