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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Really Bad Summer for Democrats

Statistics are not giving Democrats much reason for happiness these days.

Gallup's latest update on 2010 congressional voting preferences finds 50% of registered voters saying they would vote for the Republican candidate in their district, and 43% for the Democratic candidate, if the elections were held today. Republicans have led in each of the past three weeks, and their current 50% vote share and seven percentage-point lead represent their best showings thus far in 2010.
That’s the biggest lead for Republicans ever measured in the 60 years Gallup has been taking this poll. Further, this poll question has a history of understating Republican support in the past. In August of 1994, a year when Republicans made historic electoral gains, Democrats were actually ahead in Gallup’s generic poll.
As he attempts to shepherd the U.S. through the sluggish economic recovery and galvanize Democratic voters ahead of a congressional election cycle in which the party is expected to sustain heavy losses, Obama's approval rating has held relatively steady, at a near even split: 46% of respondents back his job performance, with 45% expressing disapproval. Voters are far less enthusiastic about the President's policies, however, with 57% asserting that the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction.

That wasn't the only grim news for Democrats. The GOP has snatched the lead in generic congressional balloting, with 43% of likely voters saying they would vote for a Republican candidate if the midterm elections were held today, compared with 37% for Democrats. (Last month, Democrats held a slight edge in generic balloting, 43%-42%.

The Washington Post reports economic data foreshadowing greater problems ahead:

Unemployment is in this country is going the wrong way.
This morning, the Labor Department said that new jobless claims filed last week unexpectedly rose by 12,000 to hit 500,000, the first time since November that the half-million mark has been reached. The four-week moving average of new unemployment claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, rose by 8,000 to 482,500. Forecasters expected last week's new jobless claims number to go down, not up...Today's number marked the third straight week of increase in new weekly jobless claims. That suggests that employers not only are not hiring, it suggests that they're starting to lay off workers again, and that will start a whole cascade of problems for the U.S. economy and the politicians in Washington who face reelection this November.

And to top it off, the Pew Center for the People and the Press has these data:

The religious landscape is far more favorable to Republicans than was the case as recently as 2008. Half of white non-Hispanic Catholics (50%) currently identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, up nine points since 2008. Among religiously unaffiliated voters, who have been stalwart supporters of Democrats in recent elections, 29% currently identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, up from 25% in 2008 (the proportion identifying as Democrats has fallen seven points since then). And 33% of Jewish voters identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, up from 20% in 2008.