Several prominent Blue Dogs have announced retirement, and one defected to the Republicans yesterday. All of this comes on the heels of severe declines in the poll numbers for the left. Yet Obama, who campaigned as a moderate but is governing as a far left ideologue, pushes on with his unpopular policies and anti-democratic methods. This has many on the left taking starting to sweat at the poll numbers coming in. This from Time Magazine:
. . . But as Obama approaches the first year mark of his presidency, Democratic and Republican strategists are beginning to look more closely at the polls. Here's why:
1. Congress cares about polls.
Obama's success depends upon his ability to get Congress to do his bidding, and as the polls have soured, this has become a much tougher proposition. With the President's approval rating now dipping below 50% in most polls, Democratic pollsters have begun to sound the alarm. In a recent public memo, Celinda Lake, of Lake Research Partners, pointed to a sobering statistic: Presidents with approval ratings below 50% have lost an average of 41 House seats in mid-term elections. (Democrats currently have an 81-seat advantage in the House, so Republicans could gain control of the chamber with a 41-seat pick-up in 2010.) To make matters worse, Republicans now win the generic Congressional ballot by two points, the first time the GOP has outstripped Democrats since January of 2002, according to the George Washington University Battleground Poll.
"To make matters worse?" The authors left wing bent is showing, though in this case I find it more amusing than disquiting.
2. Health-care reform has become a burden.
Something has gone wrong on the long trail to historic health reform. For one thing, Americans no longer support what is going on. The recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that 44% of the country believe it would be better not to pass any plan at all, while 41% said it would be better to pass the plan. As recently as October, the same poll showed those numbers practically reversed. . . .
3. The Obama movement has gone missing.
The 2009 elections in New Jersey and Virginia were initially talked about by Obama allies as a test of the President's organizing power. By the time the votes were counted, however, with Republicans winning two Democratic seats, no one at the White House wanted to claim any responsibility. That's because the remarkable enthusiasm that greeted Obama's victory in 2008, with record turnout among independents, blacks and young people, had gone away, along with the minions of Obama organizers. . . .
4. Keynes doesn't play in Peoria.
Obama has followed a traditionally Keynesian economic path in responding to the recession — temporarily increasing government spending to make up for slack in the economy. But voters, who continue to suffer from the downturn, are not so impressed. In a recent focus group with independent voters who voted for Obama, Republican pollster Ed Goeas found significant concern about government spending. "There was a tipping point that occurred," he said. "The biggest thing I have seen beyond the intensity and the independents moving has been this focus, in the middle of a very bad economy, on spending." . . .
5. Washington has not changed.
President Obama continues to get higher ratings for personal likability and trustworthiness than his Republican foes. But there are also signs that Obama is beginning to feel the taint of the long-standing anger against politics and politicians in general. The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found in December that 61% of the country has only some confidence, or no confidence, in Obama having the right set of goals and priorities to be President. Meanwhile, America's confidence in general remains in the gutter. When asked if they trust that government will do what is right, 32% said almost never and 46% said only some of the time. In the Battleground poll, Democrats, Republicans and Independents all disapprove of the job Congress is doing, though the numbers among swing-voting independents are most concerning for the party in power. A full 77% of this group disapprove of the Congress's job performance. Only 15% approve.
Perhaps there is a chance that Obama's overreaching will result in such a significant backlash that our ship of state can still be righted (pun intentional). Let us hope.