Public Dissatisfaction and Anti-Incumbency Shape Electoral Environment


Picking up on my comments this morning, I need to update with some additional information.

The first piece is today’s poll out from Pew Research, “Pessimistic Public Doubts Effectiveness of Stimulus, TARP: Republicans Draw Even With Democrats on Most Issues.” (Via Memeorandum.) Looking at the survey, the Democrats enjoy few advantages in a poll that overwhelmingly indicates anti-incumbency sentiments. After highlighting the intense public pessimism on the economy and the Obama administration’s economic and financial policies, the report notes that:

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the Press, conducted April 21-26 among 1,546 adults, finds that as many say the Republican Party (36%) as the Democratic Party (37%) could do better in improving the job situation. Four years ago, the Democrats enjoyed a 47% to 29% advantage on this issue. Similarly, the public is evenly split over which party could do a better job of dealing with banks and financial institutions (36% each). Nor is there a consensus on who can reduce the federal budget deficit (38% Republican vs. 35% Democratic Party).

The Democratic Party holds a significant edge on only one of six issues tested — dealing with the nation’s energy problems. Even there however, its 40% to 32% advantage over the GOP is far narrower than its 22-point lead last August (47% to 25%).

While not the most salient issue overall, the findings on foreign policy are also troubling to the Dems (respondents favor the GOP by a margin of 39 percent to 34 percent).

And here’s the Washington Post ‘s report on the Post/ABC News poll cited earlier today. See, “Poll Finds Americans in an Anti-Incumbent Mood as Midterm Elections Near.” And at the introduction:

Members of Congress face the most anti-incumbent electorate since 1994, with less than a third of all voters saying they are inclined to support their representatives in November, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Dissatisfaction is widespread, crossing party lines, ideologies and virtually all groups of voters. Less than a quarter of independents and just three in 10 Republicans say they’re leaning toward backing an incumbent this fall. Even among Democrats, who control the House, the Senate and the White House, opinion is evenly divided on the question.

It’d be an understatement to say I can hardly wait for the November elections. A couple of weeks ago Sean Trende published “How Bad Could 2010 Really Get For Democrats?” According to the article, on the possibility of the GOP takeover of Congress this year:

A 1994-style scenario is probably the most likely outcome at this point. Moreover, it is well within the realm of possibility – not merely a far-fetched scenario – that Democratic losses could climb into the 80 or 90-seat range. The Democrats are sailing into a perfect storm of factors influencing a midterm election, and if the situation declines for them in the ensuing months, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Democratic losses eclipse 100 seats.

I’d stress again that most of what we’ve been seeing is general dissatisfaction with the nation’s direction and intense unhappiness with incumbent Members of Congress. But the Dems hold the majority, and as the polls keep coming in with devastating findings for the party in power, I’m thinking, like Trende, I won’t be shocked by the loss of 100 seats as well.

Cross-posted from American Power.

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