Obama low polls dragging Dems to defeat in November
A new Washington Post/ABC Poll shows approval for President Obama at the lowest ever measured by that poll and significant erosion of support for Democrats across the board. The president stands at 41% approval with large pluralities giving Republicans the nod on issues like the economy and foreign policy.
This snapshot, 6 months out from the mid term elections, doesn't offer much hope for Democrats unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the economy and overseas.
Republicans are favored to maintain control of the House, with the focus now on whether they can take control of the Senate. One key question about November is who will vote. Turnout in midterm elections is always lower than in presidential elections, and at this point, key elements of the Republican coalition — namely white voters and older voters — say they are more certain to cast ballots this fall than are younger voters and minorities, two groups that Democrats and Obama relied on in 2008 and 2012.
Democrats are not without assets as the midterm election campaigns intensify. Americans trust Democrats over Republicans by 40 to 34 percent to handle the country’s main problems. By significant margins, Americans see Democrats as better for the middle class and on women’s issues. Americans favor the Democrats’ positions on raising the minimum wage, same-sex marriage and on the broad issue of dealing with global climate change.
Led by Obama, Democrats have sought to use many of these issues to draw contrasts with Republicans, both nationally and in states with the most competitive races. As yet, however, there is little evidence that those assets outweigh either the normal midterm disadvantages of the party that holds the White House or the dissatisfaction with the general direction of the country and Obama’s leadership generally.
The Affordable Care Act is expected to be a major issue in the midterm elections. Obama recently urged Democrats to defend the law energetically, particularly after the administration announced that 8 million people signed up for it during the initial enrollment period. Republicans are confident that opposition to the new law will energize their supporters.
The Post-ABC poll found that 44 percent say they support the law while 48 percent say they oppose it, which is about where it was at the end of last year and in January. Half of all Americans also say they think implementation is worse than expected.
Last month, a Post-ABC poll found 49 percent of Americans saying they supported the new law compared with 48 percent who opposed it. That finding was more positive for the administration than most other polls at the time. Democrats saw it as a possible leading indicator of a shift in public opinion, but that has not materialized.
Also, a 58 percent majority say the new law is causing higher costs overall, and 47 percent say it will make the health-care system worse. Those numbers are likely to worsen in early fall when insurers bump up premiums.
Those looking for a repeat of 2010 will find comfort in these numbers:
Another measure of voting intentions came when people were asked whether they thought it was more important to have Democrats in charge in Congress to help support Obama’s policies or Republicans in charge to act as a check on the president’s policies. On this, 53 percent of voters say Republicans and 39 percent say Democrats. That is almost identical to the results of the same question when it was asked in September 2010, two months before the GOP landslide.
If the election were held today, the GOP would probably gain a few House seats but come up just short of taking over the Senate. A couple of vulnerable Democrats - Pryor in Arkansas and Hagen in North Carolina - are doing better than expected at this point, maintaining slim leads on Republican candidates. But once the primaries are over and one Republican is chosen to face off against the Democrats, those numbers might flip.
Hat Tip: Rich Baehr