By Dave Andrusko
Bearing in mind the admonition that politics can and sometime does turn on a dime, USA Today’s Susan Page and Kendall Breitman write today, “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.”
Specifically, the President’s approval numbers remain dismal; support for ObamaCare remains in the low 40% range; the country feels we are heading in the wrong direction; and overwhelmingly, the 1,501 adults, including 1,162 registered voters, want the next President to pursue different policies than the current President.
#1. “The president’s job approval rating remains anemic in the new survey, at 44% approve, 50% disapprove.” Gallup’s numbers today are worse–42% approval, 53% disapproval.
#2. “In the poll,” Page and Breitman write,”41% approve of [ObamaCare], a record 55% disapprove of it.” (The all important Independent opposes Obamacare 57% -39%)
Worse yet for Democrats—as has continually been the case—the intensity is with opponents. “As in earlier surveys, opposition to the law is more intense than support: 43% of the public disapproves of the law very strongly and 11% disapprove of it not so strongly,” according to the Pew Research report. “By comparison, 26% approve of the law very strongly while 13% approve of it not so strongly.”
#3. Page and Breitman explain, “By more than 2-1, Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country.”
#4. “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.” If you think about it, that is an incredible figure less than a year and a half into his second term.
Those are just some of the key findings. There are others that perhaps illuminate even deeper problems for Democrats.
* It’s no secret many candidates are avoiding public association with the President, and for obvious reasons. “By 53%-43%, those surveyed say the issue of which party controls Congress will be a factor in their vote. Those who say they feel that way are more likely to support the Republican contender What’s more, 26% say they think of their vote as a vote against Obama; 16% as a vote for him. The president looms as more of a drag on Democrats than he was four years ago, when Democratic setbacks cost the party control of the House. Then, by 24%-20%, people saw their vote as a vote for Obama.” (To be clear, in 2010 there was only a 4 point spread. Now it is a disadvantage of 10 points.) “Democrats are significantly less motivated by their support for Obama, a factor that could complicate the critical effort to turn out voters. In 2010, 47% cast a vote to show their support for him; that’s dropped to 31%.”
* On the economy, the poll says “65% say jobs in their community are difficult to find. In addition, “About four-in-ten (43%) think Republican leaders’ policies would do more for the economy while about the same share (39%) says Obama’s policies would be more effective,” according to Page and Breitman.
To come full-circle, it is May and the elections are six months away. A lot could change. For now the numbers are ominous for Obama and Democrats.