Economy top issue of 2010 elections, says House Democrats' Van Hollen

Though data show the economy is on the mend, voters' perception ahead of the 2010 elections is that it is still struggling, says Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, speaks to reporters at Monday's Monitor Breakfast.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, sees voter perceptions about the economy and the high level of enthusiasm among Republicans as two key challenges Democrats face in holding control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.

Speaking at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast with reporters on Monday, Representative Van Hollen said, “The biggest challenge remains perceptions of the economy. This election from Day 1 has been about the economy and jobs and how people in November feel about where the economy is headed and how it affects them personally in their daily lives.”

The head of the DCCC, the official campaign arm of House Democrats, noted that perceptions about the economy “are beginning to change. About two weeks ago for the first time, more Americans thought the economy was improving than thought it was on the decline. There is still a large majority of people who are unsure and uncertain about the direction of the economy, and that is understandable,” he said.

But Van Hollen added, “We all know we are not out of the woods yet, especially when it comes to jobs.”

A second major problem facing Democrats is that voters most fired up about the 2010 elections are leaning heavily Republican. A recent ABC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that among the voters who rate their interest in the 2010 elections as 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale, a Republican-controlled Congress is favored by 56 percent to 36 percent.

The DCCC chairman called the phenomenon a “political energy deficit.” “There is no doubt this is a big challenge for the Democrats going into the next cycle,” he added.


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