This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 21, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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INGRAHAM: In the "Impact Segment" tonight brand new polling is out today looking at potential 2012 presidential matchup. A "Washington Post"/ABC News poll among registered voters shows President Obama and Romney tied at 47. The same poll shows the President leading Gingrich 51- 43. A USA Today Gallup Poll has Mr. Obama in a statistical tie with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.
However, according to a CNN Poll -- are you confused yet -- President has opened up a sizeable lead against both. Ok, that's the outlier poll. Last night Bill O'Reilly asked former President Clinton about Mr. Obama's re-election chances.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: President Obama, his chances to be re-elected are, I would say 50/50 at this point. Would that be fair?
CLINTON: I think they are a little better than that.
O'REILLY: Why? Why would you think that when most of the polls show his approvals low 40s and most people 60 percent feel the country is headed in the wrong direction?
CLINTON: Because his approval is up in the last few weeks and because of this payroll tax cut where he's for it and it looks like the House may not be.
O'REILLY: Yes, but that's transient.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Joining us now from Austin, Texas Fox News analyst Karl Rove. Now Karl, I'm watching the body language. I think we need the body language expert to come in because I'm watching Bill Clinton's facial expressions. Is it just me or does he not look like he is brimming with confidence about Obama's re-election chances?
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS ANALYST: I don't think this was a tough one. Yes Bill, it's slightly better than that maybe I just -- can we talk about something else.
INGRAHAM: He's talking about global initiative or something but he doesn't seem like --
ROVE: Yes, exactly.
INGRAHAM: I don't know if it's bad feelings from the 2008 campaign or what. But he just doesn't seem to be just thrilled about the re-elect chances.
ROVE: Well and he shouldn't be. Look President Obama and the Real Clear Politics average of polls against the generic Republican is tied 43.5 to 43.5. And if you're President Obama the incumbent and you are tied with or only slightly ahead of -- of other Republican-named candidates at this point, you are in trouble because those Republicans don't have as strong as image as you have. And there's some reluctance by Republicans to prematurely unite behind one candidate. So there their numbers are underplayed.
And you'll notice, you mentioned three polls. President Obama is tied or -- or dead or close to being dead even in two of them. Those are the polls among registered voters. He is only ahead in the poll among likely - - actually among adults. And we know that there is a difference between polls conducted among adults where he does better, registered voters where he does worse and likely voters where he does even more badly because the likely voters who are revved up and ready to go for this election are not Obama supporters.
INGRAHAM: He did well in the Hawaii Gazette Poll though Karl, that came out in one little township in Hawaii he is leading by like 15 points. So he's doing really well on there.
ROVE: Well and you know and let's -- let's go back and compare how he did in that township four years ago when I suspect -- look, here is his problem. Even among people like you mentioned, Hawaiians, he's -- he is in trouble. Take a look at these key voter groups that were critical many of them to the President's election in 2008.
INGRAHAM: Hold on, I've got to get my glasses. Ok.
ROVE: And here is what -- here's his approval rating today among Independents it's 38.
ROVE: That's down 24 points from when he got sworn into office; among seniors 39, down 23 points.
ROVE: Among those who are middle class 41, down 26 points from where he was when he was inaugurated; Midwesterners who are in the battleground states, many of them are to found 41, down 24 points from -- from he was sworn in three years ago; college graduates 43, down 26 points.
And look at this, young people, 48 percent approval down, 27 points. Now, he'll probably win young people in this election but he's not going to win them by 68-32. And look at Latinos, 51 percent approval, down 26 points from when he was sworn in.
The President is in deep trouble in these polls among key voter groups who were with him last time around and who are not with him this time around.
INGRAHAM: And --
ROVE: And he'll win some of those groups but he's not going to win them by anywhere near the margin he did last time. And he's in deep doodoo as we like to say in Texas.
INGRAHAM: Karl I have a question, I mean, this is holiday, were getting ready for the holidays. Do you write that yourself or do you have someone who works for you with great penmanship write that? Because I could not do what you do.
ROVE: Thanks -- thank you for complimenting me on my penmanship.
INGRAHAM: It's beautiful I can't read it but is that -- is that in Arabic, I mean, it's so small. I can sort of see it ok, well, forget the graphics department. There it is. Thank you, I got it.
Hey but Karl on the -- you pointed out something critical which we lose in these national polls. It was like, oh statistical tie -- that's good news for Obama.
The battleground states in South Carolina, in places like Florida, Ohio and even in Wisconsin where the President was very popular, Iowa. Those are the states that we need to start looking at once this Republican field winnows down, right?
ROVE: Yes and look we've had recent polls in the battleground states and the President is behind. And you know, if he were -- if the election were held today in all likelihood he would lose Florida; he would lose Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, probably Pennsylvania, conceivably Michigan, likely Colorado, almost certainly Nevada, it could be New Mexico, it could be Iowa. He would lose the election by a significant margin if the battleground states were to vote today.
INGRAHAM: And -- and Karl, isn't it true as we -- as we look back on what O'Reilly asked Clinton about with the -- the issue like the Simpson- Bowles Commission which the President appointed and then summarily ignored. Didn't get anywhere with it. Real fiscal reform.
ROVE: Yes -- system. Yes.
INGRAHAM: Isn't that a great substantive issue for the Republicans to run on next year?
ROVE: Well, the failure of the President to confront the skyrocketing debt and deficit is -- is a big issue. Particularly pointing to the -- you know, he appointed the commission and they came out with answers. The President could have been Nixon going to China but the Democrat has said we need to rein in spending I'm going to take the recommendations of my commission and fight for them.
And instead he gave them the back of the hand and we lost the opportunity. He could be the President leading on tax reform. If his state of the union address last year would have been about fundamental tax reform to get the economy going we would have ended up with the bill sort of left of center sort of like Bill Bradley tax reform. But the economy would be stronger and his re-election chances would be better.
And instead he talked about you remember the memorable three items. Quote, "high speed rail", quote, "high speed Internet" and quote, "countless green jobs" which certainly doesn't look particularly good in the aftermath of the Solyndra bankruptcy.
But now you have the President -- the President has failed to lead on these big important issues. And the Republican as long as they have a strong pro-growth agenda for next -- for -- for -- to get the country moving again and restore prosperity has got an excellent shot to take him out in 2012.
INGRAHAM: And Karl, I was just kidding about the Hawaiian gazette. I just made that up but I just -- I'm just -- I'm imagining --
ROVE: You sounded so credible. You sounded so credible.
INGRAHAM: No I'm just -- I was going to -- oh yes, I was going to say like "Golf Digest" has a poll out or Nickelodeon has a poll out but --
ROVE: No, no, no among golfers. Among golfers probably he will lose it and lose it badly.
INGRAHAM: He's doing really well.
ROVE: No, no he's losing badly among golfers. I've talked to a lot of golfers.
INGRAHAM: The Republicans are doing well. Karl, have a merry Christmas. Thanks for being with us.
ROVE: Same to you. Thank you.
INGRAHAM: And in a moment some conservatives are now blaming Republicans for the tax mess in Washington. But is that really fair?
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