Democrats hoping improvements in the economy’s course and the Affordable Care Act’s implementation would level the playing field for November’s elections should brace themselves.
A nationwide USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll shows the strongest tilt to Republican candidates at this point in a midterm year in at least two decades, including before partisan “waves” in 1994 and 2010 that swept the GOP into power. Though Election Day is six months away — a lifetime in politics — at the moment, Democrats are saddled by angst over the economy, skepticism about the health care law and tepid approval of the president.
“People should start opening their eyes and seeing we’re not on track,” says Brenna Collins, 32, a small-business owner from Kasson, Minn., who was among those surveyed. “Not exactly saying Republicans are right but that things need to change.”
By more than 2-1, 65%-30%, Americans say they want the president elected in 2016 to pursue different policies and programs than the Obama administration, rather than similar ones.
The pant-suited one should be a bit concerned about that. No wonder she’s in hiding.
In the 2014 elections, registered voters are inclined to support the Republican candidate over the Democrat in their congressional district by 47%-43%. That 4-percentage-point edge may seem small, but it’s notable because Democrats traditionally fare better among registered voters than they do among those who actually cast ballots, especially in low-turnout midterms.
“It’s huge,” says former Virginia congressman Tom Davis, who twice chaired the Republican congressional campaign committee. He says its potential impact is tempered only because House Republicans already hold a 233-seat majority, including most swing seats. Even so, the friendly landscape, if it holds, could help the GOP bolster its majority in the House and gain the six seats needed to claim control of the Senate.
Their lead in the generic congressional ballot is the biggest at this point for Republicans in the past 20 years. In 1994, when the GOP would gain control of the House and Senate, Democrats held a 2-point advantage in the spring of the election year. In 2010, when Republicans would win back the House, the two sides were even.
Consider how in both 1994 and 2010 the left and the media (but I repeat myself) deluded themselves into thinking all was well and were left shell-shocked on election night. We hope they continue on the same path.
Views of the Affordable Care Act haven’t brightened, even after problems with the website were fixed and 8 million people signed up for insurance before the March 31 deadline. In the poll, 41% approve of the law, a record 55% disapprove of it.
Some say they’ve seen the law’s positive impact. Quentin Howell, 37, of Milledgeville, Ga., says he was diagnosed with “a touch of diabetes” two years ago; under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can’t deny him coverage because of his pre-existing condition. “This is a big issue for me,” he says.
Opposition to the Affordable Care Act continues to be more intense than support for it.
“Obamacare could be a breaking point for who gets my vote,” says Anthony Miniard, 50, of Lynchburg, Ohio. Once a reliable Republican, he became disenchanted with the party. But his opposition to the health care law could push him back to the GOP. He labels the law “a screw-up from Day One” and says, “I don’t know if I would vote for a Democrat that keeps Obamacare going.”
Guess Obama declaring the debate over hasn’t swayed anyone.