Three of the four Republican candidates would beat President Barack Obama in Iowa if the general election were held today, signaling that a state where the Democrat found first love four years ago is now a danger zone.
Only Newt Gingrich would lose to Obama, according to a new Iowa Poll of likely voters of all political stripes.
Here’s a news flash: The candidate who does best against Obama in Iowa is Ron Paul, a Republican with crossover appeal with non-Republicans.
Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney also win head-to-head match-ups with the Democratic president.
“This is not a secure state for Obama,” said J. Ann Selzer, pollster for The Des Moines Register.
The president’s job approval is 46 percent in Iowa, just one point above his lowest low of 45 percent in September 2010.
No president has been re-elected with a national approval rating under 49 percent, according to Gallup polling dating to 1964. It’s a watershed mark, and about 8½ months from the election, Gallup national polling Saturday had Obama at 46 percent — underwater.
The Hawkeye State has been awash in GOP messages, and, perhaps as a consequence, it’s in a Republican mood.
Millions of dollars of attack ads and months of campaign trail harping about Obama did their damage, said Paul Begala, a Washington, D.C.-based Democratic strategist and political commentator for CNN.
“More than any other early state, the discussion in the Iowa GOP contest centered on attacking the president,” Begala said. “The enduring lesson is that unanswered attacks do real damage.”
Iowa equipped Obama with training wheels by handing him a win in the first-in-the-nation Democratic caucuses in 2008, then handed him a driver’s license with a 9.7 percentage-point win in the general election.