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Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 Midterms: An Electoral Bloodbath in the Making

Based on a spate of recent polls I conclude that if the 2010 midterm elections were held now Democrats would lose the House, the Senate, and crucial gubernatorial races - marking a dramatic turn of fortune since January of 2009.

Consider:
  • Three current national polls have President Obama underwater with an approval rating lower than his disapproval rating and all three have his approval rating at 45%.
  • Republicans are tied or leading on the generic ballot questions - something that last happened in 1994.
  • A recent NPR survey of the most competitive House races identified 70 and Democrats held 60 of those and trailed the GOP badly in the generic ballot.
  • Senate races that should be safe bets for Democrats in Washington, California, Oregon, and Illinois are all competitive (tied) - while Republicans are vulnerable in only one state - North Carolina.
  • Gallup recently reported that a record number of Americans believe that the Democratic party is "Too Liberal."
  • Congress has an approval rating of 20% and Gallup reports that "in the five midterm elections in which Congress' approval ratings at the time of the election were below 40%, there was an average net change in seats of 29 from the president's party to the opposition."
  • In the reliably Blue state of Maryland, incumbent Democratic governor Martin O'Malley has been losing ground against former governor Bob Ehrlich and is now tied with him. The last time Republicans did well statewide in Maryland were in te strong national Republican years of 1994 and 2002.
  • Last, Gallup reports that since 2008, the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as conservative has risen 5 percentage points to 42 percent, while the number of liberals has dropped 2 points to 20 percent. If that figure remains through the end of the year, "it would represent the highest annual percentage identifying as conservative in Gallup's history of measuring ideology..."
Considered collectively these data point to a very unhappy electorate and a very dangerous election cycle for Democrats. If this pattern holds (and it has for more than 9 months now) Democrats will lose the House, the Senate, and a substantial number of governorships - and redistricting in key states like Ohio and Pennsylvania will be overseen by Republican governors.

Today's New York Times includes a report that Democrats see a "glimmer of hope" in key states where the economy has been recovering more quickly, but the article reads more like wishful think on the part of the author and Representative Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.