Impending Democrat Election Disaster
The Quinnipiac University National Poll released on January 22nd reveals that American voters rate President Barack Obama's leadership on the economy, jobs, and healthcare as very poor; his only positive marks come from fighting terrorism. Barack Obama's first presidential campaign narrative argued that President George W. Bush and the Republicans were so interested in fighting a "War on Terror" they had failed America at home. At his victory speech on November 5, 2008, President-elect Obama bellowed: "Tonight, because what we did in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America." According to the Gallup Poll, after 1492 days in office for President Obama and President Bush, they have virtually identical public approval ratings of 46%. But Americans are 24% more dissatisfied with their government under Obama than under Bush. The president's party usually suffers significant congressional election losses in his sixth year of his administration. But with Obama's popularity at the same Bush levels that caused Republicans huge losses in 2006 plus voter dissatisfaction with government 50% higher, the Democratic Party appears poised to suffer an epic election disaster in 2014.
The November 2006, the United States midterm elections featured contests for all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 33 seats in the Senate, 36 state governorships, and many legislatures. The elections resulted in a convincing Democrat Party victory. They captured 30 seats to take control of the House of Representatives, 6 seats to take control of the Senate, 6 governorships and took control of 4 more legislatures from the Republicans. The election was also the first time in American history in which the losses for one side were so lopsided that the victorious party did not lose a single incumbent or open seat in Congress or in a governor's mansion.
Midterm elections tend to act as referendum on the president's popularity and the state of the nation. The American public view the elections as an opportunity to express their support or opposition for the president concerning whether the country is heading in the right direction; optimism over the state of the economy; whether the country is at peace or at war; and his overall performance.
When Quinnipiac Pollsters asked voters in January 2014 what should be the "the top priority for President Obama and Congress in 2014";18% listed healthcare, 16% listed jobs or unemployment, and 15% said the economy. These "bread and butter" issues have traditionally been the Democrats' strength. But according to Quinnipiac Polling Institute Assistant Director Tim Mallory, "It's the economy, Mr. President, say dissatisfied American voters who are not yet willing to give President Barack Obama a thumbs up on his presidency." The media may blame Republican intransigence and a do-nothing Congress for frustrating President Obama's agenda, but just 4% of voters listed bipartisanship or cooperation as a top priority.
The president's party has always lost seats in the House of Representatives in midterm elections, with the only exceptions since 1900 being 1934 and 1998.Those losses are larger in a president's second term because voters get increasingly "tired" of the same leader as time goes on. The only recent exception was Bill Clinton, whose party lost its majority in the 1994 Republican landslide gain of 52 seats. The Republicans overplayed their popularity with voters when they impeached the president, but failed to get enough Senate votes to throw him out of office.
The midterm losses by the president's party are usually explained by the "surge and decline" thesis: higher turnout for the president's party in presidential elections leads to lower enthusiasm and much lower turnout in the off-years. After six years, the presidential support fades after having to make political decisions that alienate groups of voters. Since the 1930s, the average loss for the president's party has been 6 seats in the Senate and 35 seats in the House.
President Bush's party was pummeled in the 2006 mid-term over faulty intelligence that led to the invasion of Iraq and for his poor response to Hurricane Katrina. President Obama and his party's poll numbers were hammered in 2013 for the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare, revelations about sweeping domestic government surveillance, and his efforts to pass divisive legislation for both gun control and immigration in the same year.
But Obama has set his party up for even more severe voter retaliation in 2014. By limiting the 2013 initial rollout of Obamacare to just 11 million people, he has doomed 270 million Americans to suffer anxiety about the impacts of the wildly unpopular program during an election year.This may explain why the January 22nd Gallup Poll reveals that an all-time high of 65% of Americans are dissatisfied with the U.S. system of government and its effectiveness; versus 41% for President Bush in 2006, who the press referred to at the time as a "very unpopular president."
If the Republicans only achieve the average gain of an opposing party in the 6th year of a presidents' term, they will pick up six seats for control the Senate and push their majority in the House of Representatives to 68 seats. But with President Obama's approval rating at the same level as President Bush plus voter's dissatisfaction with government 24% higher, Democrats appear to be facing an epic election disaster.