By Dave Andrusko
A few thoughts on the political landscape with a little more than six weeks to go until the November 4 mid-term elections.
Predictions by the experts about the chances of Republicans come and go, rise and fall, ebb and flow. Obviously no one knows definitively how the results will shake out with 47 days to go, but…
One hardly non-partisan source—NARAL—has a fundraising email out today that begins, “I hate to say it, but based on the polls, if the election was held today, we’d lose.” In addition to the states where Democrats are in real trouble, Ilyse Hogue also notes, “But here’s the other problem: Voters on our side are notorious for not showing up to vote in midterm elections, while anti-choice conservatives tend to vote no matter what.”
We don’t have NARAL’s enormous slush fund to do massive television buys, but we do have a huge cadre of loyal pro-lifers who understand what is at stake.
And some of the individual races look especially promising. To take just one example, the latest Quinnipiac survey finds that pro-life Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst is leading pro-abortion Rep. Bruce Braley by six points: 50-44.
“The tale of independent voters tells you all you need to know about the Iowa Senate race,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll. “These independents are perhaps the most important voter bloc in the electorate, and State Sen. Joni Ernst is ahead 7 percentage points among them, just about her overall lead. The key to any comeback by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley will be chipping away at her lead among independents.”
Brown also said there is a message to President Obama. Among the 1,167 likely voters surveyed, 28% said their vote in the race is mainly a vote against the president, while only 12% percent say it is mainly a vote for Mr. Obama.
How about nationally? There’s the new CBS News/New York Times poll released today. The results speak volumes about the public’s lack of confidence in the President’s toughness on various foreign policy issues. As has been the case for months, there is much more disapproval than approval on a raft of issues.
More directly, his approval number (40%) is much lower than his disapproval number (50%)—which is “5 points lower than it was heading into the 2010 congressional elections, when Republicans won control of the House of Representatives,” according to CBS News’s story on the poll
More ominous for Democrats, perhaps, is that “Most Americans (57 percent) are disappointed in Mr. Obama’s presidency, including a third who are very disappointed,” according to CBS News. “Much of this discontent comes from Republicans and independents, but a quarter of Democrats express at least some disappointment.”
CBS News reports that there is not “a lot of excitement about voting this year.” But this masks the “partisan enthusiasm gap”: “Republicans (45 percent) are more likely to be enthusiastic than either Democrats (33 percent) or independents (36 percent).”
What about Obamacare? “This poll finds no improvement in overall views of the health care law. More Americans disapprove (51 percent) than approve (41 percent) of it, as they have since the law was passed.”
Gender gap? Sure—in favor of Republicans. Almost exactly as many women will vote for Republicans (42%) as say they will vote for Democrats (43%). “But men are backing the Republican candidate for Congress (49 percent Republican to 35 percent Democratic).”
Finally, what about the all-important Independent vote? By nine points (40% to 31%), they say they’ll cast their votes for Republicans.