Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Doom and gloom

An extensive excerpt from Mike Allen's "Daily Playbook" on Politico.com:

New data make it clear that Democrats could lose bigger on Nov. 2 than they did in the Republican revolution of 1994:

--Gary Langer analysis of an ABC News/Washington Post poll out at midnight, “A Revolt Against the Status Quo Gives the Republicans a Record Lead”: “Ninety-two percent of Americans say the economy's in bad shape. A mere 24 percent believe it's improving. … A majority, 52 percent, now disapproves of the way Obama is handling his job overall, another first in ABC/Post polls.”

--Another first in the ABC/WP poll: More people said Obama's economic plan was making the economy worse (33 percent) than thought it was making the economy better (30 percent), while 36 percent said his programs were having “no real effect.”

--WSJ's Gerald F. Seib, on an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll out at dawn - “Get Ready for an Anti-Incumbent Wave”: “[A]mong those who appear most likely to vote, … the Republicans own a dramatic 49% to 40% advantage [on whether respondents prefer that November's vote produce a Congress controlled by Democrats or by Republicans]. If that kind of lead holds, Republicans would almost certainly take back control of the House.”

--NBC/WSJ finds that “Recovery Summer” was a bust: In May, 40 percent of respondents said the economy would get better in the next 12 months. Now, that figure is 26 percent.

--Stuart Rothenberg moves 20 House races toward Republicans -- “Wave builds for GOP in the House”: “National and local polls continue to show further deterioration in Democratic prospects. Given that, we are increasing our target of likely Republican gains from 28-33 seats to 37-42 seats, with the caveat that substantially larger GOP gains in the 45-55 seat range are quite possible. The next few weeks will be crucial, as Democratic incumbents seek to drive up Republican challengers' negatives and strengthen their standing in ballot tests.” http://bit.ly/bNxOUN

--At this weekend's annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, three of the five forecasts predicted that Republicans would gain majority control of the House of Representatives, Huffington Post reported.

I fully recognize what the polls are saying, and there is ample reason for the electorate to be angry. My sense is the 2010 election is less about the Democrats and more about the frustration over an economy that won't get better (and let's acknowledge that many economists forecast that the economy was going to need time to straighten itself out).

But I'm struck by something else -- my sense also is that the electorate is tuning out this president. Whether the voters are simply tired of listening to him (or perhaps have decided they don't like him), I'm picking up anecdotal pieces of evidence here and there that tell me the president doesn't command the same authority he appeared to have one year ago.

If that's true, then the Democrats' problems go far deeper than a bad economy.  

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