18 September 2009

The Color Purple

Resurgent Republic has published the results of an extensive polling of self-identified Independent voters, with an eye to the 2010 elections. As has been evidenced in a number of recent polls, these voters (who are often the determining factor in national election cycles) still like President Obama, and generally support him. Support for specific policies however, is steadily slipping, particularly as pertains to fiscal policies.
The most intriguing results related to questions about support for Congress that were aimed at predicting outcomes in the 2010 Congressional election cycle. Here, Independents are generally united - they want to throw the bums out. Charlie Cook writes about these results in the National Journal Magazine.
'A whopping 48 of those Democrats -- eight more than the size of their party's majority -- are from districts that voted for both Bush and McCain. That America is very different from the Democratic base in blue America, and it sees many major issues very differently.

Resurgent Republic's findings corroborate a growing view that the cumulative impact of Democratic missteps has reached a critical mass, with Obama receiving some damage and with Democrats in Congress and the Democratic Party receiving much more. Critics point to the Troubled Asset Relief Program; the takeovers of banks and auto companies; an economic stimulus package that they see as ineffectual and stuffed with pork; and climate-change and health care reform efforts as all being contributing factors to Democrats' decline.

The 17-point advantage that Democrats enjoyed in the January Gallup Poll (when "leaners" were included) shrank to 5 points in August. Their edge on the generic congressional ballot test has vanished, according to most national polls. For three years, Democrats enjoyed high single-digit or low double-digit leads on this question -- a very good indicator of which direction (and how hard) the political winds are blowing as a congressional election nears.

What we are seeing is an electorate growing just as disgusted with the Democratic majority as it did with the Republican one in 2006. The mounting ethics problems of House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., combined with ongoing allegations about House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pa., and others on his panel threaten to make matters still worse for their party.'

The poll results also match up with other polling, which consistently place the Republican brand within the statistical margin of error of the Democrats. In general Congress is strongly disfavored across the board. The running average reflected in the daily RCP average has consistently placed Congressional approval at -30 or lower for an extended period. Since January, no single poll has placed the Congressional approval at better than -15. This does not bode well for the 2010 election cycle. Looking at these results, it's doubtful that the Republicans can regain either the House or the Senate (after all, some of them are the bums that voters want to shed), but 29-37 House seats, and several Senate seats up for re-election (think Reid and Dodd), are vulnerable. We may end up with a deadlock in Congress starting next January, and that may be the best thing for the country. It would force bipartisanship to accomplish anything, and would push the President toward the centrality he campaigned on. Purple states (and voters) may lead the way next year.



FOX News9/15 - 9/16


Associated Press/GfK9/3 - 9/8


Gallup8/31 - 9/2


CBS News8/27 - 8/31



See All Congressional Job Approval Polling Data

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