- - Thursday, March 13, 2014


It’s doubtful you will hear this on the network news tonight, but President Obama and his party are in deep political trouble. It’s getting worse.

Mr. Obama’s job-disapproval polls climbed into the mid-50 percent range in the past week. Nearly 60 percent of the voters now say they worry “a great deal” about the weak economy, federal spending and record deficits, according to the Gallup Poll.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll Wednesday found that 65 percent of voters think America is on the “wrong track.” That’s almost nine straight months that this political measurement has been north of 60 percent.

Democrats lost a special House election in Florida on Tuesday in a district Mr. Obama carried twice, in his 2008 and 2012 presidential races. Republicans focused almost entirely on voter disapproval of Obamacare in that contest, a strategy that will be replicated by Republicans in elections around the county this fall.

“Democrats haven’t had a week his bad since 2010,” said veteran election forecaster Charlie Cook.

Other polls show growing discontent across party lines with Mr. Obama’s dysfunctional job performance and with the Democrats in general.

Mr. Obama is warning his party that they may face another “shellacking” by Republicans in the November midterm elections, like the one they got in 2010, when Democrats lost majority control of the House.

Only this time, the Democratic-run Senate is now up for grabs, raising the prospect of a Republican-run Congress in the last two years of Mr. Obama’s second term.

“In the midterms, Democrats too often don’t vote. Too often, when there’s not a presidential election, we don’t think it’s sexy, we don’t think it’s interesting,” Mr. Obama told complacent Democrats this week at a fundraiser in New York City.

“People tune out. And because the electorate has changed, we get walloped. It’s happened before, and it could happen again,” he said.

Forget all those politically slanted news stories you’ve read in the liberal media about how the GOP brand has become deeply unpopular. A Washington Post/ABC News poll last week found that “[h]alf of voters in states with Senate races are supporting Republicans in the November elections, vs. 42 percent for Democrats,” the newspaper reported Wednesday.

“Democrats face a daunting electoral landscape, with almost no chance of winning the House and a high risk of losing the Senate,” The Post said.

In a remarkable misreading of the uppermost concerns of the American people, Mr. Obama has been running around the country peddling higher income taxes, more spending, early-childhood education, expanding federal job-training programs, and boosting payroll costs on small businesses by raising the minimum wage.

In the Democratic Senate, 28 out-of-touch senators held on all-night “talkathon” Monday to focus public attention on what they perceive to be one of the nation’s chief issues: “climate change.”

That’s far from what most Americans are worrying about, though. In fact, climate change is near the bottom of a list of 15 issues.

More Americans worry about the economy, record levels of government spending, big budget deficits and the national debt than the environment, Gallup said.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said that they worried “a great deal” about the economy, 58 percent said the same thing about spending and deficits, and 57 percent worried about health care costs.

Coming in at No. 4 on the list, 48 percent said they worried about jobs and unemployment a “great deal,” with 28 percent worrying about it “a fair amount.”

Gallup noted that the 31 percent who said they worried “a great deal” about the environment this year was the lowest level recorded since they “began measuring this in 2001.”

The U.S. Labor Department last week said the Obama economy created only 175,000 jobs in February, after only producing 129,000 jobs in January — dismal numbers in a potential labor force of 160 million Americans.

The White House and its apologists in the news media blame these pathetically weak job numbers on the winter weather. Peter Morici, an economist at the University of Maryland’s School of Business and a critic of Mr. Obama’s economic policies, says that “these mediocre results are consistent with a broadly underperforming economy.”

Clearly, the sluggish economy was driving the president’s and the Democrats’ poll numbers down into dangerous territory. The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll said 56 percent of Americans now disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy.

Widespread disapproval of Obamacare was also a major factor in the Democrats’ declining popularity at the grass roots. When Americans were asked what they thought of the health care law, 35 percent said it was a good idea, but a hefty 49 percent said it was a bad idea.

All of this is eating away at the Democrats’ support in the midterm elections. When pollsters asked if they prefer a Congress controlled by Democrats or by Republicans, “respondents provided data that gave the GOP a one point edge overall,” Mr. Cook writes this week in his latest election analysis.

“While that may sound insignificant, this poll question, for whatever reason, has historically been skewed three to four points toward Democrat,” he explains.

“These new numbers appear pretty much comparable to the two-point GOP edge in the last NBC-WSJ poll taken just before the 2010 Republican landslide victory,” he said.

Close to half-a-dozen Democratic incumbents are in tight races, “with narrow leads over their challengers,” he says.

Mr. Cook cautions that incumbents usually “don’t grow their actual vote much above their poll numbers,” while undecided voters “tend to break more for challengers.”

That’s why, he adds, these poll numbers “should be troubling for Democrats.”

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.

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