Election 2010: How bad is it for Democrats?
As the November midterm election approaches, it seems to be dire straits for Democrats. Obama and other party leaders will have to energize their base in order to turn it around.
A consensus is building that Democrats’ chances of holding on to both houses of Congress – certainly with anything like the majorities they have today – are fast fading.Skip to next paragraph
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News story and polling headlines this past week paint a grim picture for Democratic lawmakers and therefore for President Obama:
“Americans Most Likely to Favor GOP Newcomers for Congress” … “Dems in power could be in peril, poll says” … “Fewer Young Voters See Themselves as Democrats” … “Dangerous Numbers for House Democrats” … “Republicans Hold Wide Lead in Key Voter Turnout Measure” … “Generic Ballot Continues to Suggest Major Losses for Dems” … “Democrats Plan Political Triage to Retain House”
Undoubtedly, there will be twists and turns (and probably some surprises) between now and when voters go to the polls Nov. 2. Eight weeks can be a political lifetime.
Plus, the “tea party” movement – showing extraordinary muscle in some recent Republican primaries – could be as much of a problem for the establishment GOP as it is for Democrats. And as John Dickerson at Slate points out, “The advantage for Democrats is that they have the better organization.”
“Organizing for America, the Obama campaign operation, has been up and running for more than three years,” he writes. “Some of the volunteers have been knocking on the same doors since Obama was just a freshman senator from Illinois running for president.”
Postpartisan? Forget it.
Obama himself has largely shucked his “postpartisan” ideal, and you can expect some sharp rhetorical elbows thrown at Republicans when he addresses a Labor Day rally in Milwaukee on Monday. That’s likely to escalate in coming weeks as Obama – and first lady Michelle Obama – go stumping for Democrats.
"They've forgotten I politick pretty good,” he told a crowd in Austin, Texas, last month.
Still, it’s an uphill battle for Obama and his party. Some of the evidence:
In a new survey released Friday, a USA Today/Gallup poll shows voters more likely to pick a generic Republican over a Democrat for Congress by 53-40 percent, particularly if that candidate is a newcomer. “It appears that the best type of candidate to be this fall is a Republican challenger,” writes Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones.
In another sign of danger ahead for Democrats, Gallup reports that minorities and young voters – a solid part of Obama’s base in 2008 – are unlikely to turn out in large numbers come November.