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Nov. 29 2009 - 12:15 pm | 248 views | 3 recommendations | 12 comments

New poll paints ugly 2010 picture

President Obama meets with members of his administration in the Situation Room. The president has been criticized for taking a long time to decide on a strategy for the war in Afghanistan. (Pete Souza/the White House Via Associated Press)

President Obama meets with members of his administration in the Situation Room. (Pete Souza/the White House Via Associated Press)

Crikey. Check out this poll over at Daily Kos. Particularly, this bit:

But a bigger indicator of peril comes from a new survey question added the DK tracking poll for the first time this week. The poll now includes a rather simple indicator of baseline voter enthusiasm for the year 2010. The question offered to respondents is a simple question about their intentions for 2010:

QUESTION: In the 2010 Congressional elections will you definitely vote, probably vote, not likely vote, or definitely will not vote?

The results were, to put it mildly, shocking:

Voter Intensity: Definitely + Probably Voting/Not Likely + Not Voting

Republican Voters: 81/14
Independent Voters: 65/23

Two in five Democratic voters either consider themselves unlikely to vote at this point in time, or have already made the firm decision to remove themselves from the 2010 electorate pool. Indeed, Democrats were three times more likely to say that they will “definitely not vote” in 2010 than are Republicans.

Two in five. That’s 40 percent of polled Democrats who claim they’re so unenthusiastic about their party’s representatives that they’re unlikely to lumber over to the local elementary school and pull a lever for one of them…next year.

I recently wrote about the Democratic base’s enthusiasm gap, which this poll not only confirms, but also illustrates the damage is much greater than some of us overly optimistic bloggers initially predicted.

The reasons for the lack of base enthusiasm are pretty clear: Democrats haven’t delivered on many of their promises. There’s no climate bill or finalized healthcare bill, and yet Democrats managed to pull off the none too easy feat of pissing off both gays and women with their respective sluggishness on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and allowing the Stupak Amendment to slip into the House’s version of the healthcare bill.

People are losing their jobs and their homes, and all the while they see Washington working tirelessly to protect the bonuses of Wall Street executives who helped tank the economy. Credit card and insurance companies continue to exploit the suffering majority. US troops are still occupying Iraq, President Obama has decided to surge in Afghanistan, and the only thing worse than two wars is three wars, which appears to be the direction we’re heading.

Voters wanted change and hope, and all they’ve gotten is more of the same Bush era policies. Who wants to vote to uphold that kind of sick system?

Despite what some village relics argue, President Obama’s election was a liberal mandate. Voters wanted an anti-Bush administration. There was enormous momentum for change in this country, which is why Democrats won overwhelming victories in both houses.

Whenever there’s a dip in the polls like this, your Fred Barnes, or whatever Neo-Con hack can get to a keyboard the quickest, copies and pastes the same “This is a center-right country!!” platitude into another wholly terrible column. However, this poll actually shows Obama is damaging his party — not by being too liberal — but by abandoning his base, those liberals that totally don’t matter because this is (I got your back, Fred-o) a center-right country.

And sure, the Republicans have been behaving like a pack of petulant assholes, but that doesn’t account for the total lack of productivity in Washington as Firedoglake points out.

You can account for some of this by citing the historic obstructionism of the GOP and the major hole in which the Administration found themselves on January 20, 2009. But you can’t account for all of it, and even if you could, it wouldn’t change the basic dynamic – the right has been worked into a frenzy hell-bent on defeating the man they are told is the second coming of Hitler, while the left is waiting for that long-promised “change” they can believe in.

This really isn’t complicated: Democrats just need to do what they were elected to do, and they’ll be fine. If they water down the healthcare bill, and betray the voters, they’ll lose seats in 2010.


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  1. collapse expand

    I’d amend the final paragraph because I think it’s important to keep expectations realistic. Democrats will lose seats in 2010, water-down or water-up. You always lose seats in the midterm, barring surprise enemy attack. But they’ll lose more seats if they don’t deliver what they were elected to deliver, which at this point means health care reform and financial sector reform. Climate change, actually, seems like it would be a good issue to have in the mix in 2010 as the campaign gets underway.

  2. collapse expand

    Allison, I think you’re right that Democrats have to deliver on issues, but I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of the dull mechanics of successful get out the vote efforts. President Obama won in states like Indiana, North Carolina, and Virginia in 2008 because he had a very aggressive and highly effective voter turnout operation underneath him. To see the problem here, consider the youth voter gap in the November 2009 contests in Virginia and New Jersey. If the Dems can’t maximize turn out in the places where they need it, they won’t win close elections in 2010.

    • collapse expand

      Michael, what do you think the politics are going to look like 6+ months from now, as the campaigns get going in earnest? Assuming health care is passed and the big bill on the table is climate change, will Democrats be able to mobilize around the GOP threat to the planet? Do voters care? Or is there some other way to mobilize around the kind of anxieties the GOP used in the 2002 midterms, the idea that the other party was a threat to the country?

      Also, assuming Democrats lose their 60-vote Senate majority and the GOP can literally block any bill it wants, how will this change the media’s view of who’s responsible for gridlock? Currently we all focus on Democratic efforts to hold their party in line; but with only 57 Democrats, doesn’t that at least force the media to lay the blame for obstruction where it belongs?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    Hopefully the republicans will shut down some of those printing presses at the Treasury….but that is probably too muich to hope for

  4. collapse expand

    Democrats are extremely frustrated with not having enough Democrats to vote for. Look at the obstructionists in our own party, smug and secure with their own healthcare/salaries paid for by us and making sure the insurance giants get plenty more laws in their favor and kickbacks I mean lobbyist $$$, and these guys are controlling what the party does (along with the ridiculous situation of Lieberman’s influence) by keeping the party from doing anything. They should be (and are being) targeted. This is a huge problem. We need to get real Democrats to run against the fake Democrats.

  5. collapse expand

    The very thing that made Bam-Bam such an attractive candidate has now exposed the Dems for what they are: Empty-suit, millionaire lawyers that care about nothing- save for the expansion of charter schools, son of surge, and keeping kids off drugs. My God we must keep kids off the drugs!
    And if you want to engineer a threat to sure up Dem votes in 2010 you’re screwed- the right already used all the poor brown people to sell the post 9/11 world.
    Arpaio and Napolitano- once mortal enemies have now joined forces to fight the illegals. All the war on terror stuff with the rapes and children torture is branded “GOP.” I guess we could sell Fear of a Black Planet- meaning the violent criminal menace represented by Black America…
    But W. Horton isn’t as scary as he used to be. Unless you’re Mike Huckabee.
    Do you people really think the vague promise of green jobs or some other bullshit sells like amorphous fear and loathing?
    It’s good fun though for non-sports fans- the whole horse race thing. I think Tour de France is a better analogy but i went to city college.
    and why was everyone so quick to start using “climate change?”
    Oh yeah, they have way better writers.
    Partial birth aborted high-tech lynching and all that.

  6. collapse expand

    I want to market a new T-shirt that says “I voted for hope and change and all I got was this lousy T-shirt”. On the back the Obama campaign logo will be melting away to show the Walmart happy face. That pretty much sums up how I feel.

    I have one of the most progressive representatives in the House, Maurice Hinchey, who just sent out a long email about how single payer wasn’t politically viable and how he was really a great guy for supporting the House version of the Health Insurance Stupaked Profit Engorgement Act of 2009. Sure he’ll pick up a token Republican dirtbag to oppose him and maybe some ex-hippie Green and I’m supposed to be excited about getting out there to vote for him?

    I think a lot of us are sick and tired of the Democratic Party. Sure Republicans are repulsive but if you think I’m getting off my ass to go vote for the least repulsive candidate again you’re kidding yourself.

    The Democrats have shown their true colors this past year – yellow. They have the White House and both houses of Congress (I’m not buying that 60-vote super-majority bullshit. It’s a fucking rule that can be dropped with a simple majority vote) and they have accomplished exactly squat. In fact, they have made things worse. They don’t care about us so why the hell should we care about them?

  7. collapse expand

    Real or imagined, Democrats feel abandoned, as this poll indicates. Many reasons, but here are two that disturb me and other Democrats I know who were expecting things to change:
    1. I still don’t know Obama’s position on health care, other than he wants it reformed. For the public option or not? For the Stupak amendment or not? And how in the world does this administration cut a deal with the likes of Billy Tauzin to limit what the drug companies contribute to reform? And then say nothing at all when it’s revealed that the industry has already raised prices to compensate for its “contribution?”
    2. This administration’s tin ear on unemployment is astonishing, especially after working so hard to convince us that we were contractually obligated to pay the bonuses of the bankers who took our economy over the edge and then used our tax money to climb back.
    At this point, whatever ends up passing for health care reform promises to be so compromised, and the continued inattention to the dreadful job situation so infuriating, that I fear even more Democrats will sit out in 2010 than the above poll shows.

  8. collapse expand

    the Senate democrats have allowed the Republicans to break the momentum from the election by showing that democratic elections in the U.S. are a sham when a minority can thwart the public will. Reid should have called the Republican bluff on the first filibuster. The public would have backed him [especially independents who don't like the insider political tricks such as the filibuster]. Reid let the momentum be broken and it was a colossal mistake. Now a form of buyer’s remorse set it. We voted for Democrats for change, there is no change, we quit. Don’t need an Axelrod to understand that.

  9. collapse expand

    It’s the economy, stupid. If Obama can turn the unemployment picture around – or at least create the perception that the economy is turning around – the Democrats will win. If, as is likely, the economy continues to sour or there is some other domestic crisis, then the Democrats will lose seats.

    Republicans have been masters of distracting the electorate with security issues (Communism, terrorism) that appeal to their base fears. Obama hasn’t found that hot-button issue, and health care isn’t it. Health insurance regulation is more cerebral than visceral.

  10. collapse expand

    RE::People are losing their jobs and their homes, and all the while they see Washington working tirelessly to protect the bonuses of Wall Street executives who helped tank the economy.People are losing their jobs and their homes, and all the while they see Washington working tirelessly to protect the bonuses of Wall Street executives who helped tank the economy.

    Washington is Obama and the democrats……not an abstract place….obama isn’t creating jobs…he is creating billionaires and saving billionaires

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