As President Obama's approval rating continues to nosedive toward that of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one has to wonder: Who are these naysayers abandoning the dynamic duo of government-run everything? While it's true that a majority of the discontented comes from the ranks of Republican and Independent voters, it is also true that many Democratic voters are parting ways with the Obama-Pelosi agenda on several fronts.
According to a recent Zogby International/O'Leary Report poll (which surveyed 4,470 voters July 21-24 and has a margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 1.5 percentage points - internal data here), only 36 percent of Democratic voters support the Obama-Pelosi government administered health insurance plan that would put government in charge of determining what medical procedures Americans can have and when they can have them. Fifty-nine percent of Democratic voters prefer to either keep the current system in place, or want something different altogether.
When Obama and Pelosi ask their more moderate colleagues to come onboard with Obamacare, what they're really asking them to do is ignore the will of their constituents, voters within their own Party, and the broader American electorate. That's a tough sell.
First Amendment Rights
On September 9, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that could turn a key provision of the "McCain-Feingold" campaign finance law on its head. At issue is a documentary about Hillary Clinton that was produced by the conservative group Citizens United and released in January 2008 when Clinton was running for president. Citing "McCain-Feingold" restrictions, a district court barred the group from advertising the documentary on television and distributing it through video-on-demand. Now the Supreme Court will decide if such a ban infringes on Americans' First Amendment rights.
Both Obama and Pelosi support McCain-Feingold, however, the same can't be said for a majority of voters in their Party. The same Zogby/O'Leary poll found that 54 percent of Democratic voters believe that the First Amendment protects the right of organizations to buy political advertising that either supports or opposes a candidate for political office. Only 27 percent of Democratic voters believe otherwise.
Recently, an amendment that would have permitted law-abiding gun owners with concealed-carry permits to carry their firearms across state lines fell short in the Senate. Although the amendment received a majority of votes (58-39), a filibuster-proof 60 votes were required for passage. Thirty-seven of the "no" votes came from Democratic Senators.
The Zogby/O'Leary Report poll found that an overwhelming 79 percent of Democratic voters support laws that allow law-abiding Americans to carry guns. Yet over 60 percent of Democratic Senators voted to disallow Americans this right. A majority of Senate Democrats voted against the wishes of a majority of Democratic voters.
President Obama and Nancy Pelosi have never met a gun-ban they didn't like - both of their records are abundantly clear on this. But is this a reflection of the Democratic electorate at large? Or is it just a reflection of their native enclaves - Southside Chicago (where Obama cut his political teeth) and San Francisco? Signs point to the latter.
Fifty-six percent of Democratic voters believe the Second Amendment "‘right to keep and bear arms' is a right that should apply to every law-abiding citizen living in this country." A slight majority of Democratic voters (52 percent) disagree with any law that would ban the possession of handguns, and the same percentage agree that "self-defense with a firearm is a fundamental right." And finally, 73 percent of Democratic voters believe in the individual right to own and use firearms.
President Obama and Speaker Pelosi may find it convenient, not to mention politically expedient, to blame Republicans every time they fail to get one of their Big Government agenda items through the Democrat-led House and the Democrat-led Senate. However, the inconvenient truth is that majorities of Democratic voters are opposed to the Obama-Pelosi agenda on many issues. According to a recent Gallup poll, 40 percent of all Americans consider themselves "conservative," and only 21 percent call themselves "liberal" (35 percent say "moderate"). The same poll found that 62 percent of self-identified Democrats consider themselves either conservative or moderate.
Try as they might, Obama and Pelosi should eventually find these numbers hard to ignore. In the meantime, they seem content to not only buck mainstream America, but also buck the mainstream within their own Party.
Brad O'Leary is publisher of "The O'Leary Report," a bestselling author, and is a former NBC Westwood One talk show host. His new book, "Shut Up, America! The End of Free Speech," (endoffreespeech.com) is now in bookstores. To see more, go to olearyreport.com.