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Obama has lost the middle

November 19, 2009

This month’s election results in New Jersey and Virginia confirm what recent polling has been showing – independents are abandoning Obama and his far-left agenda. With independents making up 43% of all voters nationwide, that’s a big deal. Among those independent voters, his approval rating has dropped from a high of 60% to 47%. It is still dropping. Today’s Rasmussen Reports daily presidential tracking poll that includes all voters shows that “27% of the nation’s voters “Strongly Approve” of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) “Strongly Disapprove”, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -14. That matches the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President.”

According to a NY Daily News article,

The single biggest reason independents are breaking away from Democrats is that they feel he is spending too much money, increasing the deficit and not addressing the nation’s problems in a bipartisan way.

Put simply, they think Obama is abandoning the political center he claimed to represent as a candidate.

And when it comes to the judgment of centrists, perception is reality.

That trend continues for all incumbents. According to a report released last week by Pew Research Center, “Support for congressional incumbents is particularly low among political independents. Only 42% of independent voters want to see their own representative re-elected and just 25% would like to see most members of Congress re-elected. Both measures are near all-time lows in Pew Research surveys.” Further, the article continues: “Public frustration with Congress may have serious electoral implications for incumbents in the 2010 midterm elections. Only about a third (34%) of registered voters say they think most members of Congress should be re-elected next year, which is on par with ratings during the 1994 and 2006 elections. Meanwhile, just 52% of voters say they want to see their own member re-elected, approaching levels in early October 2006 (50%) and 1994 (49%).” (As a reminder, 1994 and 2006 are years when the majority party suffered large losses in the mid-term elections.)

On Monday, the Washington Post ran an article titled “So much for the power of incumbency“. One key line from the first paragraph: “There is one indisputable lesson learned: Voters don’t like incumbents these days.”

Yesterday, the Washington Times ran an article that postulates that the split over the health care bill “opens a fissure of electoral vulnerability” for Democrats who voted against it.

In a tribe that does not tolerate any dissent from the party line, the gang of 39 had committed an unpardonable and unforgivable sin: They voted no on the centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s domestic agenda. When they returned home to gauge their district’s reaction, they were greeted with a vendetta of e-mails, phone calls and crowds of protesters.

It continues:

Mounting attacks on these Democrats, from their party’s left, sends a threatening signal that they could lose much of their base in next year’s elections, improving the Republican Party’s chances of picking up a number of seats that they lost in recent elections.

Conservative blogger Deidre Henderson recently wrote an article titled “Americans Hope for Change in 2010“. She points out that since 1980, members of Congress have enjoyed average re-election rates of more than 92% – but that is likely to change in 2010. She concludes

This profound unrest is invigorating and healthy, while congressional stagnation is not. Not to mention, it makes exciting election years for We the Political Junkies.

Indeed. :-)

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