Democrats have good reason to feel afraid

By Bill McInturff and Nicole McCleskey

If some Democrats have lost sleep over the last week, it is with good reason.  Republicans are knocking on their doors, loud enough to cause some nightmares heading into 2010.

Voters waved good-bye to President Bush in January, and he is increasingly fading in the rear view mirror.  Democrats still like to talk about the problems they “inherited” but that excuse is wearing thin.  This is rapidly becoming the Obama Economy.

As the chart below demonstrates, voters continued to place the strain of a bad economy on the doorstep of former President Bush in March.  But sentiment has shifted, and quickly.  Voters are now evenly divided on ownership of the economy in a trend that cannot comfort vulnerable Democrats.


This concern about the economy was front-and-center in the New Jersey and Virginia elections.  Among voters in those elections who said they are “very worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next year,” Governors-elect Christie and McDonnell dominated the ballot among these voters.  Christie topped Corzine 61{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-34{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} and it was a total blowout in Virginia – 77{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} McDonnell/23{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Deeds.

The implication is clear … voters are unquestionably still worried about the economy, and Obama Democrats are on the losing end of that debate.

But, it goes further.  Voters are rapidly losing confidence in the Obama Administration across a full range of issues.   There has been a stunningly sharp drop in voters’ expectations about what Obama can accomplish on every issue.  Most notably is voters’ marked disappointment in the lack of a new tone in Washington, government spending, and a health care plan they do not like.

nicole-chart-2Democrats can spin the elections of 2009 anyway they like.  But this is not good news for those 50 or so Democrats sitting in Congressional seats carried by John McCain.

(And, we have not even mentioned 10{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} unemployment yet.)

Public Opinion Strategies