Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dems in Trouble?

Charlie Cook, probably the best election analyst in America, notes that attitudes of Americans regarding the Democratic Congress create a problem for Democrats, which Cook summed up like this:
I am becoming convinced, based on this and other research, that although many independent voters are disappointed in specific things that Obama has done, they still hope that he will do well and believe that he might. To be sure, red America has already given Obama the thumbs down. And blue America just wishes he would be more liberal. But it's purple America, the independents who voted for Democrats in the 2006 midterm election by an 18-point margin, that makes the biggest difference right now. Most House Democrats live in blue America and show little awareness that their party has a problem. However, the Democrats' majority is built on a layer of 54 seats that the party picked up in 2006 and 2008 that are largely in purple -- or even red -- America. Democrats ought to keep in mind that 84 of their current House members represent districts won by President Bush in 2004 or John McCain in 2008.

A whopping 48 of those Democrats -- eight more than the size of their party's majority -- are from districts that voted for both Bush and McCain. That America is very different from the Democratic base in blue America, and it sees many major issues very differently.(emphasis added)
The manner in which Congress, or more accurately the House, has moved sharply left is no doubt leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of those purple-district residents.

I think Cook's assessment of independent voters is pretty accurate. Most people want the President to succeed. But I think that most Americans, particularly independent Americans don't like sudden and drastic change. There is little doubt that the Obama Administration's domestic agenda is a radical change from what has happened in the near and middle past. While the Bush Administration can hardly be considered a small government administration, some of the big government changes are a result of factors outside out control, specifically the reaction to 9/11.

But indepdendent voters are not stupid and they are clearly not happy with what their elected representatives are doing. The longer the domestic policy battles rage and the longer economic uncertainty reigns, the less likely that the Democrats are going to be in control come 2011. In the rosiest of circumstances, it is likely that the Democrats will not control the House by more than a 20 votes and more likely to be 15 or less. Senate Democrats are almost assured to not have a filibuster proof majority, although losing control of the Senate is not at all likely.

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