September 11, 2009

BUT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE CRISIS OF CAPITALISM!:

Bleeding Independents: Obama's agenda has fanned fears that government is expanding too far, too fast. (Charlie Cook, Sept. 5, 2009, National Journal)


Obama and Capitol Hill leaders don't need to worry too much about their modest drop in support from Democratic voters or the predictable drop on the Republican side. But top Democrats should be very frightened about the sharp drop in support among independents, because it could ultimately threaten their party's hold on the House and shrink their majority in the Senate.

Independent voters -- fired up by the war in Iraq and Republican scandals -- gave Democrats control of both chambers of Congress in 2006. Two years later, independents upset with President Bush and eager to give his party another kick expanded the Democratic majorities on the Hill. Late in the campaign, the economic downturn, together with an influx of young people and minorities enthusiastic about Obama, created a wave that left the GOP in ruins.

That was then; this is now. For the seven weeks from mid-April through the first week of June, Obama's weekly Gallup Poll approval rating among independents ran in the 60-to-70 percent range. But in four of the past five weeks, it has been only in the mid-to-high 40s. Meanwhile, Democrats and liberals seem lethargic even though Republicans and conservatives are spitting nails and can't wait to vote.

What's going on? While political analysts were fixated on last fall's campaign and on Obama's victory, inauguration, and first 100 days in office, two other dynamics were developing. First, the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression scared many voters, making them worry about their future and that of their children and grandchildren. And the federal government's failure to prevent that calamity fundamentally undermined the public's already low confidence in government's ability to solve problems.


If there's one thing the GOP should be good at after 150 years, it's rhetoric about reducing government spending.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2009 8:24 AM
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