[Posted by Karl]
If the polls were a record, they would sound like the beginning of Pink Floyd’s “Time.”
Public Policy Polling (PPP) — a Democratic firm — has a raft of numbers, almost none comforting to Democrats.
Following up on the troubles of Rep. Vic Snyder in Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District — where Barack Obama had his strongest performance in the state last year — we learn that Sen. Blanche Lincoln is in even worse shape there, with a 27% approval rate:
Few of the Democrats who dislike her will go so far as to vote Republican next year, but as we saw in Virginia and New Jersey this year they might not show up to vote for a candidate they’re not enthusiastic about and that could have serious repercussions for the rest of the state’s Congressional Democrats and not just Lincoln.
It’s hard to say what she should do to get on the path back to popularity though. 30% of Democrats in the district think she’s too conservative but 49% of the independents think she’s too liberal. Those are the two groups she needs to do a lot better with to win reelection, and it’s not clear what she could do to appease both of them.
Numbers like that suggest that the poll Zogby did for an anti-ObamaCare group — showing that voting for the bill will likely end her career — probably has a grain of truth to it. Lincoln has some tough decisions ahead of her.
In the Missouri Senate race, Democrat Robin Carnahan is in a dead heat with Republican Roy Blunt, despite having a better approval rating:
In a normal election year Carnahan would probably cruise to election given that divergence in the candidates’ popularity. But 2010 is shaping up to be good for Republicans and Carnahan can’t completely avoid that. 52% of voters in the state disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing with only 43% giving him good marks. Also 58% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of the Democrats in Congress with only 27% seeing them positively. Those two findings are a good look into why Carnahan doesn’t have a wider lead.
Congressional Republicans are actually even more unpopular than Congressional Democrats in the state- 62% view them unfavorably. But among voters with a dim view of both parties- which accounts for 27% of the state- Blunt leads 59-22. Generally speaking when voters don’t care for either party they’ll vote for the one that’s out of power because of the mentality that there’s at least a prospect for things to change.
Again, lefty wishful thinking that the damaged GOP brand will save them is being disproven.
The GOP is also highly competitive in North Carolina, a state with a heavy Democratic registration advantage. PPP’s full release explains (.pdf):
Republicans are faring well for two key reasons. First, they have a significant edge with independents. On the legislative ballot they have a 48-27 lead with them and on the Congressional one it’s 48-29. Second, GOP voters are more unified heading into 2010 than Democrats are. On the legislative ballot 88% of Republicans commit to voting for their party while only 79% of Democrats do. When it comes to Congressional voting the figures are 90% and 77% for the two parties.
One reason the state looks so competitive for next year is that suburban swing voters, who tended to go Democratic last year, have now shown a shift back toward Republicans. They say they’ll vote for GOP legislative candidates by a 50-40 margin.
“The way things are shaping up there is a real chance Republicans could take control of the legislature in North Carolina next year,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “It’s important for Democratic voters not to be complacent because if they don’t show up at the polls there could be real consequences for the party for the next decade if the GOP gets a hold of the redistricting process.”
All of these results echo the GOP victoies in Virginia and New Jersey earlier this month (not to mention that nationally, Obama is slipping below 50% with Fox, Rasmussen Quinnipiac and PPP). Despite mounting evidence that independent and suburban voters have soured on the Democrats, the Obama administration sees no need to reposition Obama’s image or the Democratic message. The White House attributed the VA and NJ losses to local factors, as even more polls show Democratic incumbents trailing Republicans among Independents by double-digit margins statewide in places as varied as Connecticut, Ohio and Iowa. The DNC seems equally clueless. And with double-digit unemployment, it takes a special brand of cluelessness for Pres. Obama to tell NBC that creating jobs isn’t the goal of a coming White House forum on jobs and economic growth. Or perhaps that was just a Kinsleyian gaffe.
Update: The hits keep on comin’. Ace nicely rounds up today’s news that Obama has slipped below 50% in the Gallup poll, along with Charlie Cook talking about previously safe Dems having to sweat because they are “saddled with a sitting Democratic president who is beyond radioactive in their districts”:
Less than a year out from Election Day, it’s time to rethink who the vulnerable Democrats are. And if President Obama is the dominant issue of the 2010 midterms (and rarely has a midterm not been a referendum on the incumbent president), Democrats ought to be seriously concerned about districts where reliable surveys suggest voters are in open revolt against him. Democrats would rather not draw attention to their problems in these districts, but both parties recognize the sea change underway.
Ask not for who the bells toll.