• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

2010 Bigger than 1994? Ctd.

To piggyback on James’ comments below, it’s important to point out some other important metrics that make a Republican takeover of Congress in November pretty unlikely.

1. The hard right turn in the primaries cuts against the GOP.

The biggest group of voters who are angry and anti-incumbent can be found among the most conservative GOP voters. This is producing some interesting conundrums, like Charlie Crist in Florida, Bennett’s fight for his life in Utah, and McCain’s struggles against J.D. Hayworth. These are all pretty conservative folks losing to very conservative candidates. But here’s the thing–the polling for those favorite conservative candidates is terrible. Let’s say, for example, that J.D. Hayworth beats McCain in the GOP primaries (a very possible outcome). Hayworth, who is very well known due to the hard-fought primary, right now trails the virtually unknown Democratic candidate Rodney Glassman. And Charlie Crist has a really good shot of winning a three-way race in Florida. The numbers in Nevada are, I think, trending back towards Harry Reid thanks to the ultra-conservatives on the GOP side there, too. Which is shocking, because a few months ago I counted Reid out entirely.

2. The public prefers Democrats to Republicans. On almost everything.

The ABC News-WaPo Poll that James cites below is really illuminating on this score, and it’s in lines with the trends that I’ve been following for the past few months. For one thing, the voters in this survey prefer Republicans to Democrats by 5 points. And this, in particular, is revealing:

In a party-to-party measure, Americans by 46-32 percent said they trust the Democratic Party over the Republicans to handle the main problems the country faces during the next few years. That slipped for the Republicans from a 43-37 percent division in February.

You’ve got that right–since February, more voters trust Democrats and fewer voters trust Republicans to govern responsibly. That’s not a good trend for those who believe in a GOP takeover.

3. The public blames Republicans for the economy and the deficit.

While it’s definitely true that, historically, economic indicators can drive the incumbent party out of power, there’s a huge backstop against the flow in 2010. That backstop is this: the public is pissed about the economy. The public is pissed about the deficit. And they’re pissed at Republicans for it.

For one, many more Americans chiefly blamed the economy and the federal deficit alike on George W. Bush rather than on Obama, by 59-25 percent on the economy, by an almost identical 60-22 percent on the deficit.

While it’s true that this is a Bush v. Obama metric and that some of that 59% almost certainly consists of some of the conservative anti-Bush backlash of the past two years, that’s still a really rough metric for Republicans who, like it or not, are going to be associated with Bush.

4. Obama is more popular than Republicans.

One advantage that the Republican Party had in 1994 in successfully taking over Congress was that Bill Clinton was at a very low point in his popularity and approval. By contrast, though, Obama’s approval has been steady and is slowly trending up, and he compares very well to the Republican Party.

Still, while Obama’s ratings on top issues were underwhelming, politics are comparative, and he continued to outpoint the GOP head-to-head. Even with 49 percent approval on handling the economy, he led the Republicans in Congress by 49-38 percent in trust to deal with it. The numbers are almost identical on health care overhaul, on which Obama’s approval, also 49 percent, is up 6 points from its February low, given approval of the Democrats’ legislative package.

As reported Monday, Obama led the Republicans by 17 points in trust to handle financial regulatory overhaul, despite his own modest 48 percent approval on the issue. And he runs numerically (plus-4 points) ahead in trust to handle the deficit, even while his approval on the deficit is a weak 40 percent.

Even with voters angry as they are. Even with anti-incumbent fervor at its peak. Even with all of those factors–Obama is still more trusted by the public to handle governing than the Republicans. Which makes running an “anti-Obama” campaign as a national goal for Republicans quite difficult.

5. The bottom line: voters don’t like the alternative.

Here’s the thing. It is an absolute, 100 percent certainty that the Republican Party is going to gain seats in both the House and the Senate. That, you can take to the bank. The demographics of the seats at most isssue in this election cut against Democrats. But not by enough for the GOP to take either the House or the Senate. And quite frankly, given the high levels of unpopularity that the GOP faces right now, I’d say this election looks a lot like elections in England since Tony Blair took office as Prime Minister, where the public may have hated Labour, but they really hated the Tories, and offering up a viable non-Tory alternative in the form of Nick Clegg is changing the shape of their current election.

Similarly, the public in the United States may be anti-incumbent. They may not like the Democrats right now. But by and large right now they hate the Republicans a lot more than they hate the Democrats. And unless that changes in the near future, and I have no reason to suggest that it will, I think we can safely count on another two years of the Democratic Party controlling the Congress.

Related Posts:

About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp writes about pretty much everything under the sun, including politics, art, religion, philosophy, sports, music, culture, and science.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    I think you ignore the fact that while Obama may be popular, the democratic congress has pretty much hit a major low when it comes to approval.

    Also, I doubt Obama can blame Bush for too much longer, and even if the voters are still buying the “It’s all Bush’s fault even two years after I was elected” crock of bull, they won’t be buying it in 2012.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    Just me –

    the democratic congress has pretty much hit a major low when it comes to approval.

    Actually, approval of Congressional Republicans is even lower than that of Congressional Democrats. That doesn’t bode well for the GOP.

    they won’t be buying it in 2012.

    I think that’s right, but all projections show lower deficits and a better economy in 2012, so I’m not sure that’s going to be an issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. just me says:

    What projection shows a lower deficit? Everything I have seen indicates deficits will keep getting higher. Not to mention that the democrats can’t keep spending money-they seem to be under the impression that there is a magic money tree that grows in Washington.

    And in an anti incumbent wave, I don’t think it is going to matter what voters think of the GOP (that said, I don’t think the GOP is going to take over the senate, and I think the house is doubtful, but the massive majorities the democrats currently enjoy are going to go away).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Not all of the projections show that Alex. Just the ones you want to quote. Fact is, costs are going to go up and there will probably not be much of a recovery in the employment area. This administration has no business experience, is anti capitalistic and has an agenda which will make more citizens beholding to the government as a policy. That will not be conducive to economic growth. You have got to stop reading White House news releases.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Wayne says:

    Alex
    You probably think Specter and Snow are “very conservatives’ also.

    Re “By contrast, though, Obama’s approval has been steady and is slowly trending up”

    What polls have you been watching?

    I understand that the liberal side of the Republican Party like James and yourself are not happy with the more conservative candidates winning. However once the primaries are over many will remain loyal to Republican Party and the ones that don’t like Christ and Specter never was. I could be wrong. The “once we elect our candidates in the primary, we must back the winner” may be only valid if your candidate wins. I haven’t seen you or James state such philosophy since you candidates have fallen behind.

    Even so, there is twice as many conservative as liberals. I think a motivated base will get out and vote. IMO this will results in much greater gains than losses. If not I prefer we bleed quickly and show people liberal policies are harmful than having liberal Republicans to blame for bleeding us slowly. Let’s give the people a clear choice between capitalist Republic and socialist Democracy instead of Dem and Dem-lite.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    You gotta love the GOP. Just when it’s looking fairly good for them they kick Hispanics in the teeth, then drop to their knees and give the big banks a hummer.

    They’re expanding their base. They used to just be for people who love money and hate gays and blacks. Now they’re the party of people who love money and hate gays, blacks and Hispanics. Bigger tent, see, that’s the idea.

    I don’t think they should stop there. I think Asians have been ignored for far too long. It’s time to bring people who don’t like Asians into the GOP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Highlander says:

    Alex,

    Based on the 40 years I have been heavily involved in electoral politics, I would say your analysis is pretty much correct,if this was at all a normal cycle..

    But in the 4 states I operate in,there is something a little unusual going on. It is a tidal wave of disgust with the system in general, and a visceral disdain, and revulsion with political incumbents in general.

    In that the Democrats are the dominant party, and have more to lose. I think they are in great danger of losing the house. I month ago I didn’t think so, but the anger just gets more intense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. An Interested Party says:

    Also, I doubt Obama can blame Bush for too much longer…

    Umm, there are numerous other people who also blame Bush…

    Not to mention that the democrats can’t keep spending money-they seem to be under the impression that there is a magic money tree that grows in Washington.

    And the Republicans operated under another impression how, exactly?

    This administration has no business experience, is anti capitalistic and has an agenda which will make more citizens beholding to the government as a policy. That will not be conducive to economic growth.

    And yet, the previous administration, which had so very much business experience, just did absolute wonders for the economy, eh?

    What polls have you been watching?

    Perhaps this one, which has been fairly steady since last fall…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. spago says:

    Alex,

    The WaPo-ABC poll is a joke…although I assume it gave you the outcomes that you desired so you didn’t bother to look at the demographics…

    Why did Obama and the Democrats still manage to hold more trust over their GOP opponents? The pollster talked to more of them, that’s how — and more of them than they did in the last poll, relative to Republicans. In the March 26th poll, the WaPo/ABC sample had a D/R/I split of 34/24/38, giving Democrats a partisan advantage of 10 points in the poll. This time, the sample’s split went 34/23/38, and even the independents split in favor of the Democrats, 19/17, up from 17/17 last month. Just to give some perspective, the partisan gap from their November 2008 poll just before the election was nine points — and 26% of the sample was Republicans, compared to 23% now.

    Given the expanding partisan gap shown in this poll, small wonder that Obama winds up with more trust than Republicans among respondents. It’s also no mystery why the WaPo/ABC poll shows Obama adding to his job approval rating, 54/44, when every other pollster has Obama sinking. That ten-point swing in the sample makes quite a difference.

    It also makes a big difference in the consolation news the Post and ABC offered Democrats. The 46/32 split for Dems on trust by party shows that Democrats would be considerably narrower than the 14-point lead this survey shows. The eleven point lead that Obama has over the GOP for trust on the economy would be completely gone, and the 4-point edge Obama enjoys over Republicans on the deficit would have more than reversed itself.
    Consider the ten-point partisan gap fudge when looking at these numbers on the issues, too:

    •Economy — 49/49 approval
    •Health care — 49/49
    •Federal deficit — 40/55
    •Financial regulation — 48/48

    One can see why the WaPo/ABC poll overcounts Democrats. Without them, Obama’s numbers would utterly collapse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Alex Knapp says:

    spago,

    The WaPo-ABC poll is a joke…although I assume it gave you the outcomes that you desired so you didn’t bother to look at the demographics…

    It gave results consistent with the trends that you can follow on Pollster or RCP. It’s not an outlier.

    Why did Obama and the Democrats still manage to hold more trust over their GOP opponents? The pollster talked to more of them, that’s how — and more of them than they did in the last poll, relative to Republicans. In the March 26th poll, the WaPo/ABC sample had a D/R/I split of 34/24/38, giving Democrats a partisan advantage of 10 points in the poll. This time, the sample’s split went 34/23/38, and even the independents split in favor of the Democrats, 19/17, up from 17/17 last month. Just to give some perspective, the partisan gap from their November 2008 poll just before the election was nine points — and 26% of the sample was Republicans, compared to 23% now.

    This breakdown of party identification is right on the money, according to Pollster.com’s poll of polls:

    Independent: 35.8%
    Republican: 24.1%
    Democrat: 32.4%

    Oddly enough, it looks like EVERYONE’S biased! Gods!

    Or maybe, just maybe–this is the approximate breakdown of how Americans identify themselves by Party….

    … Nah! That’s crazy talk!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. spago says:

    Nice invective Michael Reynolds…I shudder to think about you furiously “elaxing” yourself to images of “The One” just to summon that sweet, sweet vitriolic rhetoric for everyone to take in…but for next time…maybe just use a tube sock?

    No, no…I am completely aware of what I just did there…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. spago says:

    Not according to Gallup Alex…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. John Personna says:

    The Republicans are blasting away at their feet with this “we must block Wall Street regulation and do it for Main Street stuff.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Alex Knapp says:

    Highlander,

    I think that the anger, if you look at it, is mostly coming from groups of people who (a) normally vote and (b) normally vote Republican.

    An extra riled up base is probably enough to take a few seats in the House. But not 40.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. spago says:

    An extra riled up base is probably enough to take a few seats in the House. But not 40.

    What is your over/under…and would you care to make a friendly wager :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. anjin-san says:

    but for next time…maybe just use a tube sock?

    Sounds like the voice of experience…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Highlander says:

    I think that the anger, if you look at it, is mostly coming from groups of people who (a)normally vote and (b) normally vote Republican.

    Alex,

    You are listening a little too closely, to the literate Morons of the MSM on this one. You know at this point,the MSM types are so emotionally and ideologically driven, their product is hopelessly out of it.

    (In my 63 years I have developed four areas of expertise; War, Aviation, Electoral Politics, and Real Estate. MSM in these areas almost always get it wrong. They couldn’t be more screwed up,if they tried to be. This is the major reason along with the Internet that MSM is dying)

    1. The anger has spread to the independent swing voters, voting independents now lean GOP. 2. The combination of Georgie Bush and the Uber Blue Hair John McCain suppressed the GOP turn out last election. Now as you noted,the right is mad as hell(I mean really pissed!) and fired up to vote Result high GOP turn out. 3. Without Barry Obama on the ticket the young and blacks won’t turn out.There won’t be the massive Democratic GOTV effort of 08. Results low DEM turnout.

    In the marginal districts where it counts these three factors make the Blue Dog Democrats goners. In my home district the two term Blue Dog(I’m not involved in the race)is road kill. the same people who swung to him 4 years ago now curse him. Nobody said,it had to make sense.

    In the Senate Mr Ried is a goner, and even that nice,70 year old filthy rich Jewish Lady, Mrs Boxer from La La Land may get her head handed to to her. The Dems will hold the Senate by 2 or 3, but the House is gone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    Highlander:

    Jesus, you’re just 63? You’re only 8 years older than I am. I’d had you at about 80 and I was giving you a pass for what I assumed was senility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. floyd says:

    Beware all you armchair pundits, not every egg produces a chicken,especially when each and every one starts out as a Goose Egg![lol]
    The best the American people can hope for is to get Goosed!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. spago says:

    but for next time…maybe just use a tube sock?

    Sounds like the voice of experience…

    By your own logic…it suggests quite a bit of experience on your end also…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Highlander says:

    Michael Son,

    Your just “Oh So Vicious”!

    If you didn’t let your Panties get so knotted up all the time, you’d be a nicer person.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. anjin-san says:

    Now Spago, don’t by snide, after all, you have been hoisted by your own tube sock.

    As they say, you are alone in your bed… now sleep in it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. spago says:

    Now Spago, don’t by snide, after all, you have been hoisted by your own tube sock.

    As they say, you are alone in your bed… now sleep in it.

    I have no idea what you are talking about…who is being snide? Wouldn’t it be more apt to say that my tube sock was hoisted by me?…Who are “they”…and why do “they” snipe “their” phrases from hackneyed expressions?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. anjin-san says:

    Spago please stop talking. It’s coma inducing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. c.red says:

    It’s only April and a lot of people aren’t even considering the election yet. Right now only the activists are fired up and they’ve already made up their minds.

    Let’s see what the picture is in August and we’ll have a better idea.

    But I have to say I believe every law like the new ones in Arizona and Oklahoma, every assault on science/history as in Texas, every Tea Party gathering that gets painted as racist (warranted or not), and every time the Republicans are blatantly obstructionist in the interest of big business is going to make it that much grimmer for them come election time. I seem to remember a lot of false optimism prior to ’06 and ’08 as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. spago says:

    Spago please stop talking. It’s coma inducing.

    BURN!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Wayne says:

    It looks like a steady decline to me with a few upticks here and there. Rasmuussen shows the same thing. FYI you get a trend by drawing a line through the averages of highs and lows. At most you can say it was somewhat steady since December but that timeframe still has a downward trend, just not as great as before.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

    Yes Republicans overspent but nowhere near the level that the Democrats are. Perhaps people will believe that the Republican have wise up. Worst case is they haven’t but at least their level of spending is much better than what the Democrats are doing.

    It amazing that the liberals complain about the Republicans overspending but are OK with the Democrats doing a great deal more while conservatives complain about both overspending. Remember much of the overspending done by Republicans was force on them by Democrats unless you believe it would have been ok to shut down the government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. G.A.Phillips says:

    Alex, just to let you know, this Friday we start Founding Fathers Friday on Glen Beck with David Barton :) the first one is on Samuel Adams. I hope you tune in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. [...] posts at OTB (yesterday’s 2010 Bigger Than 1994? by James Joyner and today’s 2010 Bigger than 1994? Ctd. by Alex Knapp—both worth a read, btw) reminded me that I wanted to say a couple of things about [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. An Interested Party says:

    re: Wayne | April 29, 2010 | 01:22 pm

    It’s not so much complaining about Republicans overspending, but rather, pointing out that Republicans overspend just like Democrats, so if you think the GOP will magically transform itself into the fiscally prudent party, think again…and sad little excuses like the Republicans were “forced” to spend sound pathetic…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. G.A.Phillips says:

    They’re expanding their base. They used to just be for people who love money and hate gays and blacks. Now they’re the party of people who love money and hate gays, blacks and Hispanics. Bigger tent, see, that’s the idea.

    Dude do you even know any gays, blacks or Hispanics, lol, I mean your race and gay wars babel is just silly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Wayne says:

    AIP
    Which is better, someone who overspends by 100 to 200 billion dollars or someone who overspends by 1 to 2 Trillion dollars?

    At least conservatives are trying to convince the Republicans to spend less. Unlike liberals who want the Democrats to spend even more. If we can vote in some conservatives instead of RINOs maybe we can get back to a balance budget.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Davebo says:

    Unlike liberals who want the Democrats to spend even more. If we can vote in some conservatives instead of RINOs maybe we can get back to a balance budget.

    Bush doubled the federal debt in 8 short years. Seriously! 225 years of debt, doubled in 8.

    And what kind of deficit did he inherit?

    And you wonder why folks think the Tea Party folks might be motivated by something other than deficit spending?

    Of course you don’t. If you’re sentient.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Wayne says:

    And Obama in year has greatly outpaced Bush. I condemn the deficits and wanted the Federal budget cut during the Bush’s years.

    I’m still waiting on liberal to do the same for Obama’s massive spending. How about you Davebo, AIP or any liberals? Anyone willing to condemn Obama’s massive spending?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. just me says:

    It’s not so much complaining about Republicans overspending, but rather, pointing out that Republicans overspend just like Democrats, so if you think the GOP will magically transform itself into the fiscally prudent party, think again…and sad little excuses like the Republicans were “forced” to spend sound pathetic…

    “But mom he started it!” is a bad excuse.

    The GOP probably won’t magically turn into fiscally prudent politicians-it is too easy to throw money around and the power is addicting, but the GOP didn’t spend nearly as much-we are headed towards record deficits and the real bill for the healthcare bill doesn’t come fully due for almost 10 years.

    I suspect by the fall a lot of people will vote GOP just to put some restraint on congress.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. An Interested Party says:

    “But mom he started it!” is a bad excuse.

    Much like Wayne, you completely miss the point…it isn’t about who started it, but rather, Republicans have shown no interest in being fiscally prudent (once they are in office anyway), so why would they suddenly be so now…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0