Poll shows strong swing state disapproval of Obama on housing

Housing photo via Shutterstock

Campaign for a Fair Settlement, a liberal housing group which formed to pressure state Attorneys General like California’s Kamala Harris to not agree to a bad robosigning settlement deal, has released a poll that paints a brutal picture of how voters in swing states view President Obama’s handling of the housing crisis.

The poll also shows that voters think the President hasn’t done enough to hold banks accountable and that criminal behavior by Wall Street has driven the crisis. The poll surveyed independent likely voters in Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina, all of which are states which have been devastated by the foreclosure crisis.

From the poll release’s key findings.

  • The percentage of independent likely voters who disapprove of Obama’s handling of the housing and mortgage crisis ranged from 48% in Pennsylvania to 70% in Nevada, while those approving ranged from 21% in both Nevada and Arizona to 34% in North Carolina.
  • The percentage of independent likely voters who say Obama has not done enough to hold banks accountable for their role in the housing collapse ranged from 60% of respondents in both North Carolina and Florida to 73% in Nevada.
  • The percentage of independent likely voters who say that the economic crisis results at least in part from criminal actions by Wall Street executives ranged from 64% of independent voters polled in North Carolina to 76% in Pennsylvania.

The poll data is viewable here.

David Dayen notes that the problem is even more stark when you look at the partisan breakdowns within the poll:

Where this really shows up is in the partisan breakdown. There’s a partisan split in the polling, with Democrats generally supportive of the President and Republicans opposed. But independents are strongly negative on this question, worse than the overall numbers, from a 26-48 split in Pennsylvania, to 34-56 in North Carolina, to 28-49 in Florida, to 29-52 in Arizona, to a whopping 21-70 in Nevada.

The takeaway from this is pretty clear: the housing crisis could be a very big issue in the 2012 presidential election. The voters who will likely swing the swing states identify serious failings by the Obama administration and if they are convinced to vote on these issues, things would be pretty bad for the President.

In the statement, Nish Suvarnakar, campaign manager for Campaign for a Fair Settlement, says, “Obama can help homeowners, his campaign and the overall economy by more aggressively pursuing banks’ criminal acts and supporting meaningful solutions for underwater homeowners.”

The Obama administration hasn’t done the work it has needed to do on housing and has ignored pressure from the left to take real policy actions, but perhaps they’ll be responsive to political pressure. If voters who care about housing policy and bank accountability exist as a bloc which can swing the election, the Obama campaign would be remiss to ignore them.

Criminal indictments of bank executives for fraud and criminality relating to the foreclosure crisis would be a big step in the direction of showing the administration takes peoples’ concerns seriously.

It’s unlikely that another milquetoast (or worse) program will convince people he’s serious – it’s time for the handcuffs to be broken out. Short of that, I’m not sure how the President will convince these swing voters in these key swing states that he should be trusted to better address the housing crisis in the future.


Matt Browner-Hamlin is a blogger & political strategist based in Washington, DC. He has written about US politics since 2004. He's worked on presidential and Senate campaigns, in the labor movement and the Tibetan independence movement. He is the founder of OccupyOurHomes.org and currently spends much of his time fighting Wall Street banks. Matt on Google+, and his .

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