As they seek to retain control of Congress, Democrats are finding that voter sentiments that gave the party its victory margins here and in other swing states in 2008 could turn against them for 2010. Voters as a whole, rattled by continuing economic problems, tell pollsters they are disillusioned with incumbents -- including Obama and congressional Democrats. Meanwhile, tensions within the Democratic coalition, muted during the presidential campaign, are sharpening as Obama's broad campaign promises morph into specific proposals. And most ominous of all for Democratic prospects, the highly motivated swarms of young voters, Latinos and independents who made the difference between victory and defeat in 2008 now seem dispirited, while conservatives seem reinvigorated.New data from Rasmussen tend to support this observation:
Republican candidates start the year by opening a nine-point lead over Democrats, the GOP's biggest in several years, in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot. The new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 35% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent. While the Republican lead has reached a new high, it should be noted that support for GOP candidates rose just one point over the past week, while support for Democrats dropped four points to its lowest level in years. In addition, the number of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats fell to the lowest level recorded in more than seven years of tracking.