Democrats' bumpy ride to November
We all know the conventional wisdom and historical trend. The party of a first-term president almost always loses seats in Congress during the mid-term elections. So, there’s no reason to believe that this November’s ballot will be any different. It’s just a matter of how badly the beating is. And when viewed through that lens, the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll is another kick to the gut of Democrats and the Obama administration.
When asked how much confidence they had in President Obama to make the right decisions for the country’s future, an uncomfortable 58 percent responded “just some” or “none.” There was even less confidence in congressional Democrats (68 percent). This is why you have White House press secretary Robert Gibbs sounding the alarm that his party could lose the House. As Greg Sargent and others have pointed out, this is about firing up Democrats in November.
But these alarming polls, which have been consistently alarming for the Democrats and the White House all this year, haven’t translated into good news for Republicans. While their efforts to portray the president and his party as reckless and wrong on every issue certainly have contributed to Democrats’ and Obama’s poll plummet, Americans have even less confidence in congressional Republicans. An overwhelming percentage of respondents (72 percent) to the confidence question said “just some” or “none” when it comes to the GOP.
Well, that’s a bit of cold comfort for Democrats. And so is this from today’s story on the poll:
Obama's overall standing puts him at about the same place President Bill Clinton was in the summer of 1994, a few months before Republicans captured the House and Senate in an electoral landslide.
President Ronald Reagan, who also contended with a serious recession at the outset of his first term, was a little lower at this point in 1982, with a 46 percent to 45 percent split on his approval ratings. Republicans went on to lose about two dozen seats in the House that fall.
Yes, that history lesson is better for Obama than Congress. Thus the conventional wisdom that firing up Democrats this November is all about keeping the White House two Novembers from now.
| July 13, 2010; 8:52 AM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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