Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Country's Anti-Incumbent Surge

Members of Congress face the most anti-incumbent electorate since 1994, with less than a third of all voters saying they are inclined to support their representatives in November, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Dissatisfaction is widespread, crossing party lines, ideologies and virtually all groups of voters. Less than a quarter of independents and just three in 10 Republicans say they're leaning toward backing an incumbent this fall. Even among Democrats, who control the House, the Senate and the White House, opinion is evenly divided on the question.

Still, for President Obama and his party, there are some positive signs in the poll. The public trusts Democrats more than Republicans to handle the major problems facing the country by a double-digit margin, giving Democrats a bigger lead than they held two months ago, when Congress was engaged in the long endgame over divisive health-care legislation. A majority continues to see Obama as "just about right" ideologically, despite repeated GOP efforts to define the president as outside the mainstream.

Those polled also say they trust Obama over Republicans in Congress to deal with the economy, health care and, by a large margin, financial regulatory reform. And the president continues to get positive marks on his overall job performance, with, for the first time since the fall, a majority of independents approving. Disaffection among independents with Obama's policies has been one of the major shifts in public opinion over the past year, making this small movement one to monitor over the coming months.

Bob Bennett’s defeat in the Utah’s GOP Convention clear example of just how much of an anti-incumbent and anti-establishment cycle 2010 has become. His loss will be celebrated as a victory by conservative activists who had painted him as a “Republican in name only” who was too willing to work with Democrats on issues like government financial bailouts and health care.

Bennett’s loss will also be a major victory for the anti-tax group, the Club for Growth, who had put the Senator at the top of its target list this primary season. Bennett became a top target of the Club in the wake of his efforts to help pass the Wall Street Bailout bill in 2008 and the group took a lead role in lobbying delegates to oust the three-term Senator leading to today’s convention. The Club spent heavily on its effort to lobby convention voters to dump Bennett.

The beauty of our American electoral system is that the public always get what they ask for. Cast your vote for your choice, then see how it runs. Sometimes the outcome is as expected and sometimes not. It’s the luck of the draw. However, when you decide not to vote, you let someone else control your destiny.

Sources: The Washington Post; CQ Politics;TMPDC

No comments:

Post a Comment