June 19, 2010


Prepare Yourselves for Speaker Boehner (William Galston, 6/18/10, New Republic)

A closer look at the data helps explain these results. In the 70 battleground districts, likely voters are much more likely to believe that the country is on the wrong track than are voters nationally. Fully 49 percent in Tier 1 and 46 percent in Tier 2 self-identify as conservatives, and Obama’s approval stands at only 40 percent in both tiers. By 59 to 35 in Tier 1 and 56 to 39 in Tier 2, voters endorse the proposition that “President Obama’s economic policies have run up a record federal deficit while failing to end the recession or slow the record pace of job losses.” (They still blame Bush more than Obama for the state of the economy, however.) In the 60 Democratic districts, only 37 percent of Democrats say that they are very enthusiastic about voting in this year’s election, versus 62 percent for Republicans. While a surge among independents boosted Democrats in 2006 and 2008, this year that key group is breaking for Republicans 50 to 29 in Tier 1 and 51 to 34 in Tier 2. And most discouraging of all for Democrats: Greenberg tested a number of different themes and arguments Democrats might use against Republicans this fall, and not one worked well enough to turn the tide.

Exhibit C: In a survey out earlier this week, Gallup researchers looked at the voters’ broad assessment of the major political parties. They asked (as they have done from time to time), “In general, do you think the political views of the Democratic Party are too conservative, too liberal, or about right?” In 2008, 50 percent said “about right” versus 39 percent “too liberal.” Today, the reverse is the case: 49 percent say “too liberal” and only 38 percent “about right.” During that same period, the share of the electorate assessing Republicans as too conservative has fallen from 43 to 40 percent, while the share seeing them as about right has risen from 38 to 41 percent. Among independents, the share seeing Democrats as too liberal has risen from 40 to 52 percent, versus a decrease from 43 to only 33 percent seeing them as about right.

Democrats must face the fact that much of the legislation that seems both necessary and proper to them looks quite different to the portion of the electorate that holds the balance of political power.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 19, 2010 8:27 AM
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