- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2014

Analysis/Opinion

Voter dissatisfaction with the White House will have a stronger effect in a half-dozen states when the midterm elections get rolling on Tuesday, this according to a massive Gallup tracking data analysis of some 15,000 people over four months.

“In an election in which President Obama’s mediocre approval ratings have cast a shadow on Democrats’ efforts to maintain their slim Senate majority, his image has remained generally weak in six states featuring competitive races,” reports analyst Andrew Dugan. “This includes sub-40 percent approval ratings over the last several months in Iowa (38 percent), Kansas (33 percent) and Arkansas (29 percent). In two other states, North Carolina (42 percent) and Georgia (41 percent), Obama’s approval ratings have been about equal to his national average. Among these six states, only in Colorado has Obama’s approval rating (46 percent) been higher than his national rating.”

The term “uh-oh” comes to mind.

“Though each of these Senate races has its own character, they do not occur in a vacuum. Obama’s lackluster approval rating will probably be a deterrent in motivating less-attached Democratic adults to vote, while in turn providing a turnout motivator for Republicans who are eager to deliver a blow to the president by making him deal with a unified Republican Congress in his last two years,” Mr. Dugan says.

FAILURE TO TURN UP THE TURNOUT?

Analysts have already declared that the 2014 midterms will cost close to $4 billion, which may not yield a whole lot of bang for the buck on Tuesday. Will there be a failure to turn up the turnout? Historic data suggests that somewhere around 40 percent of the nation typically votes in midterm elections; based on the current U.S. population, that makes 126 million who will do their civic duty in the public libraries, church halls and fire stations of America. It could be more, could be less. Since 1948, turnout has ranged from a low of 39 percent on three occasions in the 1970s and ‘80s to a high of 49 percent in 1966, according to the United States Elections Project.

MR. WALKER WALKS THE WALK

“Does he keep his word? When he says something, does he not only talk the talk but walk the walk? Is he willing to put up with the slings and arrows that come with leadership when you actually make the decision? I say yes,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recently told Wisconsin voters, referring to Gov. Scott Walker, who stood beside him on a rural campaign podium.

Though many Wisconsin news organizations offer either tepid and accusatory coverage of Mr. Walker and his quest for re-election, the pollsters offer a different take. A new Marquette Law School Poll finds Mr. Walker leading Democratic challenger Mary Burke 50 percent to 43 percent among likely voters.

“If Walker triumphs again, Republicans would be foolish not to put him at the top of their 2016 list. The GOP would be hard-pressed to find anyone better prepared and with a better temperament to handle the burdens of a national campaign. And if Walker can govern Wisconsin for the better, while enduring the never-ending slings and arrows shot his way, then imagine what he could do in the White House,” says Aaron Goldstein, a columnist for The American Spectator.

THE POWER OF THE STATES

What should voters pay attention to as the midterm election spectacle unfolds in the next 24 hours?

“States. Over the past several years, they, through referendums and their elected governments, have produced some of the most influential changes to American society,” Rich Edson, the Washington correspondent for the Fox Business Network, tells Inside the Beltway. He points out that issues like marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage came on the public radar at the state level.

“None of these policies were actively pursued by the federal government. State governments and voters directly are changing their societies on these social issues, and also on taxes, regulations and their economies. Other states will consider referendums on these issues this election season, along with questions on abortion, the minimum wage and access to firearms,” says Mr. Edson.

“Executive authority is limited. Most consequential federal policies need a change in law and therefore Congress. Republicans controlling both houses produces far different outcomes than a divided Congress,” he continues. “Either or both parties could still refuse to compromise, meaning Washington accomplishes little before the next presidential election. Still, the chances are greater with a Republican Senate that Washington yields legislation on energy, trade and tweaks to the health care law — all significant policy issues for specific sectors of the economy.”

ROMNEY ON THE RADAR

Seventy-two hours after the midterms, Mitt Romney is among the luminaries set to appear at the first-ever Israeli-American Council National Conference in the nation’s capital. On Friday he’ll talk over election results with author and former White House adviser Dan Senor and share in a Shabbat dinner. Former senator Joe Lieberman will also be on hand during the three-day sold-out event, as well as Sen. Lindsey Graham, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, plus business leaders Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban — who will lead a public session titled “The Israeli-American Dream.”

“As Americans and Israelis, we see it as our duty and obligation to strengthen the relationship between Israel and the United States,” says Shawn Evenhaim, the council’s national chairman. “This conference marks the first time that leaders and professionals from the Israeli-American and Jewish communities from across the country are coming together to explore how to build a united and engaged community.”

‘WHAT THE ELECTION IS REALLY ABOUT’

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren both journeyed to New Hampshire to support the re-election campaign of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. But it has not swayed the state’s major news organization, which gives Republican hopeful Scott Brown a very loud round of applause.

“Shaheen says she puts New Hampshire first, but her record does not support that claim. It is not that she supported a President of her own party. It is that this President’s agenda replaces New Hampshire solutions with Washington ones — by design. In Washington, Jeanne Shaheen has consistently supported Washington-dictated policies rather than ones that free Granite Staters to make their own choices,” the Union Leader says in an editorial.

“By contrast, Scott Brown has a proven independent record, which is why Shaheen has spent so much time and energy trying to demonize him. In this campaign, he has made clear that he wants to take some of the power that Shaheen happily hands to the federal government and return it to New Hampshire. We agree. That distinction is what this election is really about.”

POLL DU JOUR

51 percent of those who participated in an Obamacare health exchange last year do not plan to renew it; 66 percent of those identifying as Republicans, 41 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents agree.

43 percent most fear an increase of their premiums; 21 percent dread an online system malfunction.

36 percent overall say they are “somewhat confident” that the health exchanges “will operate smoothly this fall”.

24 percent are “not at all confident” that the exchanges will run smoothly; 21 percent are “not too confident.”

16 percent are confident the exchanges will run smoothly.

Source: A Bankrate’s Health Insurance Pulse survey of 558 adults from U.S. households that participated in Obamacare, conducted Sept. 25-Oct. 19.

Hoots, hollers, weary asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide