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Thread: Experts see double-digit Dem loss in 2010, health issue spun out of Obama's control

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Experts see double-digit Dem loss in 2010, health issue spun out of Obama's control

    After an August recess marked by raucous town halls, troubling polling data and widespread anecdotal evidence of a volatile electorate, the small universe of political analysts who closely follow House races is predicting moderate to heavy Democratic losses in 2010.

    Some of the most prominent and respected handicappers can now envision an election in which Democrats suffer double-digit losses in the House — not enough to provide the 40 seats necessary to return the GOP to power but enough to put them within striking distance.

    Top political analyst Charlie Cook, in a special August 20 update to subscribers, wrote that “the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and congressional Democrats.”

    "Many veteran congressional election watchers, including Democratic ones, report an eerie sense of déjà vu, with a consensus forming that the chances of Democratic losses going higher than 20 seats is just as good as the chances of Democratic losses going lower than 20 seats,” he wrote.

    At the mid-August Netroots Nation convention, Nate Silver, a Democratic analyst whose uncannily accurate, stat-driven predictions have made his website FiveThirtyEight.com a must read among political junkies, predicted that Republicans will win between 20 and 50 seats next year. He further alarmed an audience of progressive activists by arguing that the GOP has between a 25 and 33 percent chance of winning back control of the House.

    “A lot of Democratic freshmen and sophomores will be running in a much tougher environment than in 2006 and 2008 and some will adapt to it, but a lot of others will inevitably freak out and end up losing,” Silver told POLITICO. “Complacency is another factor: We have volunteers who worked really hard in 2006 and in 2008 for Obama but it’s less compelling [for them] to preserve the majority.”

    Historic trends point to Republican House gains in the midterm election, particularly after facing two brutal election cycles where the party lost seats in every region and even in some of the most conservative states in the nation. Over the last five decades, the party out of power has picked up seats in 10 of the 12 midterm elections.

    Turnout levels may also work in the GOP’s favor: House Democrats who narrowly won election in 2008 on the strength of high turnout among African-Americans and young voters probably won’t be able to count on that same level of enthusiasm next year in a nonpresidential election.

    The national political environment, of course, could look significantly different next year. It wasn’t until the final month before the 1994 GOP landslide that political analyst Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report, anticipated GOP gains large enough to win back control of the House.

    This year, Rothenberg cautioned that despite signs of a Republican resurgence, there are many factors working against huge numbers of GOP pickups. If Democrats are able to pass a health care bill without the controversial public option, the party could get credit for passing legislation without jeopardizing their most vulnerable members, he noted. And if the economy perks up in the third quarter of next year, Rothenberg argued, all bets are off.

    “To have another wholesale sea change bigger than last year’s and almost as big as the two years combined is asking a lot. It’s not impossible, but you have to think that’s quite a challenge for the Republicans,” said Rothenberg. “If [House Republicans] won 12 to 15 seats, … they should be very happy about that. Could I see them winning more than that? If there are gale force winds, I could see them winning 20 to 25, … but 40 seats is a really big number.”

    Cook Political Report House analyst David Wasserman, who expects Republicans to pick up between nine and 26 seats, said that even if the national environment approximates the 1994 atmosphere, there are significant structural differences about the political landscape that will limit Republican gains.

    Back in 1994, Democrats had held the majority for 42 years. Many veteran members, predominantly from conservative districts, decided to retire after sensing the changing political winds. Of the 31 open seats they created, Republicans picked up 23 of them — about 40 percent of the GOP’s total pickups that year.

    Only seven House Democrats to date have announced they’re not running for reelection — with all but three of them representing safe Democratic districts.

    “I don’t think that Democrats’ chances of losing the House are anywhere near one-in-four right now,” said Wasserman. “For Democrats to lose 40 seats, they would have to be facing absolutely catastrophic circumstances, and even if the health care debate turns sour, it’s hard to imagine that Democrats will be losing a ton of ground.”

    Silver also pointed to the role of health care legislation, which he said is increasingly looking like a no-win situation for House Democrats.

    In his view, if a compromise bill is passed without a public option, the liberal base will become upset and may not be enthusiastic heading into the 2010 midterm elections, where their support will be critical. But if Democrats pass legislation without any assistance from Republicans, the party risks incurring the wrath of independent voters looking for a bipartisan solution. And if no health care reform at all gets passed, the administration and vulnerable members will have spent political capital without getting any results on the administration’s signature issue.

    “If you pass a health care bill it doesn’t make you popular, but if you don’t sign any legislation it makes things even worse,” Silver said. “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. I don’t see what the exit strategy is for the White House. Once they went down this path, they’re going all in here, and you can’t take that bet back.”

    Democratic officials privately expect to lose around 10 House seats even under politically stable conditions, and acknowledge that President Obama’s standing in the run up to November 2010 will play a pivotal role in how well they can weather the historical trend.

    “When you have big waves like 2006 and 1994, you felt it early and you felt it build. I am not sure we are seeing that. While healthcare is causing some heartburn, it is still an issue that two-thirds of all voters say needs reforming,” said Democratic pollster John Anzalone, who represents many clients in conservative Southern districts.

    “It is clearly too early to tell if the Republicans have a chance [to regain control of the House], but at this point I still think it is more like a 10 or 15 percent chance. That may certainly grow. But there are some big battles yet to fight.”

    Indeed, those upcoming battles — on health care reform, energy legislation and economic regulation — will be crucial to the fortunes of targeted House Democrats.

    Wasserman noted that of the 16 House Democrats who voted against former President Clinton on the controversial budget and assault weapons ban, every single one of them won reelection. If this year’s crop of targeted Democrats resists pressure from leadership and votes in line with their constituencies, Wasserman predicted they can overcome a Republican wave.

    Already, many Democrats representing conservative-minded districts have distanced themselves from the national party’s leadership on the most controversial measures. Forty-four Democrats split from their leadership to oppose the cap-and-trade energy legislation — most of them falling in line with the economic interests of their districts.

    “It goes to show that voting behavior in Congress matters at the end of the day.” Wasserman said. “Right now, we’re looking at a wave cycle, but the question is will it be a small wave or a major wave. And it matters how these freshman and sophomore members vote to determine how big a wave it will be.”

    Experts see double-digit Dem losses - Yahoo! News
    snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Dem motto..


    and the reply


    An increasing number of those who matter are now saying that the Obama administration, hand in hand with Democrats in Congress, have turned victory into a rather large disaster in only eight short months.

    This is why Joe and I have been so ticked off at Obama lately. We both saw this coming. We saw it coming a year ago - last August, 2008 - when we fretted privately, and then publicly, that Obama wasn't willing to show some backbone and actually fight for his beliefs. And now, the president, along with Congress, has turned our biggest opportunity for change in a generation into predictions that we might lose the House next year.

    Sure, there's "only" a 25% to 33% change of it happening, per Nate Silver of 538.com. But the chances shouldn't be that high at all on the heels of a GOP slaughter last November. And, considering how quickly things can change, imagine what another year and a half of the kind of leadership we've had to date will do to our chances to keep the House, let alone what it will do to our 60 vote (now 59 without Kennedy) majority in the Senate. And let's not even talk about whether Obama wins re-election.

    It doesn't give either Joe or me any pleasure to be right about the Democrats' failings. We get ticked at Obama and the Democrats in Congress because we care. Because we want to win. Because we want them to succeed. That's why we supported Barack Obama long before it was cool. That's why we raised nearly $50,000 for the man during last year's election. But the unfortunate truth of politics, that I learned while volunteering for Senator Kennedy's office back in the early 1990s, is that in order to win legislatively you need to spend far more time than you'd ever imagine beating up on your own party to do the right thing.

    President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have taken a rather glorious victory and made a supreme mess of things in a little more than half a year. They've not only single-handedly resuscitated a dying Republican party, they've damaged their own rather stellar brand to boot. And if anyone is troubled by our leaders' unwillingness to follow through on campaign promises now, due to an almost pathological need to be "bipartisan," just wait and see what happens if Democrats lose a ton of seats in 2010. At that point, you can kiss any remaining promises goodbye for good.

    AMERICAblog News| A great nation deserves the truth: Charlie Cook: "The situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and congressional Democrats.”
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    At the mid-August Netroots Nation convention, Nate Silver, a Democratic analyst whose uncannily accurate, stat-driven predictions have made his website FiveThirtyEight.com a must read among political junkies, predicted that Republicans will win between 20 and 50 seats next year. He further alarmed an audience of progressive activists by arguing that the GOP has between a 25 and 33 percent chance of winning back control of the House.
    and they don't even need to win control, just winning 25-30 seats in the house, and 3-4 seats in the senate is enough to kill any progressive legislation. (not that the dems are really interested in progressive legislation anyway, as they have proven quite clearly)

    President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have taken a rather glorious victory and made a supreme mess of things in a little more than half a year. They've not only single-handedly resuscitated a dying Republican party, they've damaged their own rather stellar brand to boot.
    this is dead on. remember just a couple of months ago when every cable channel started each hour with the “Will the republican party disappear? Who is the leader, Rush? Repubs will never get back into power!' Seen any of these shows lately?
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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    I'm not buying this, not so soon. Too much can change between now and then.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Look at the direction things are going in, look at the pattern that's already been established.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    Yup, I think the writing is on the wall. Why in the hell they have given the Repubs the soapbox is beyond me. The Bush Admin (with both houses) NEVER even acknowledged that there could possibly be a dissenting opinion to their dictates.

    Obama needs to knock some damn heads, they need to stop answering or acknowledging critics and get the flipping health care bill done WITH the public option - anything less than that is simply more money for the insurance companies and that's it.
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    (Replying to MontanaMama) This is some of the smartest shit I ever read

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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    I think a lot of them are gonna be out of jobs come election time no matter what party they are.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMama View Post
    Yup, I think the writing is on the wall. Why in the hell they have given the Repubs the soapbox is beyond me. The Bush Admin (with both houses) NEVER even acknowledged that there could possibly be a dissenting opinion to their dictates.

    Obama needs to knock some damn heads, they need to stop answering or acknowledging critics and get the flipping health care bill done WITH the public option - anything less than that is simply more money for the insurance companies and that's it.
    He won't knock heads, that's not what he does.. providing they even WANT to knock heads.

    They're either caught up in some fake act, or they're caught up in this meaningless bipartisan bullshit.

    Dems never fight, rethugs fight dirty, Dems flounder and fail trying to give the rethugs everything, rethugs get back into power and continue kicking the shit out of the Dems until their own incompetent drives them from power and the Dems are re-elected out of desperation.

    rinse, repeat.
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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greysfang View Post
    I'm not buying this, not so soon. Too much can change between now and then.
    Yeah, it's definitely too early. I recall Nate Silver noting in last year's congressional elections that Republicans didn't even have challengers on the ballots in at least 16 house races. Add in other, possible moves within state GOP parties such as California allowing state GOP members only to vote in its primaries and this resurgence thing isn't as clear cut as people would like it to be.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Even MORE awesome!

    per Associated Press:

    Meanwhile, Obama returned from his vacation in Massachusetts on Martha's Vineyard and, after a few days at Camp David, will redouble his efforts "toward getting a bipartisan result" on health care overhaul, said deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton. "After he gets a little time to recharge his batteries...he's going to come back as rip-roaring as he was before," Burton said.



    Yes, the reason that President Obama is now starting to be perceived as a weak leader by the right, independents, and the left in all the polls is because he simply hasn't caved enough on his core principles. If only he'd given the Republicans 50% of the stimulus package as tax cuts, instead of 40%, maybe then Americans would believe him to be a true leader.

    PS As rip-roaring as before? The previous "rip-roaring" lost Obama 20 points in the polls, reinvigorated a nearly-dead GOP, fractured a once unified Democratic party, and lost control of your signature issue. It's not clear that Democrats can afford much more of the White House's definition of successful leadership.
    AMERICAblog News| A great nation deserves the truth: Burton: Obama to be even more bipartisan

    But wait.. there's more fail happening right now!

    Here's an idea. Let's not tell the Republicans in advance what we're willing to cave on during the negotiations:

    John Kerry said Kennedy would fight for the public option and "do everything in his power to get it," but "if he didn't see the ability ... to get it done, he would not throw the baby out with the bathwater."


    Shorter Kerry: Just hold firm and the Dems will concede.

    Another thing - it's not like the Democrats are fighting for anything at the moment. The White House seems afraid to push for anything, lest they have to fight for that bill (they don't like fighting) and spend political capital (which they don't do), and lest the bill not pass and then they have to admit they "lost" on something. So they fight for nothing, then when something (anything) passes - regardless of whether it's good, bad, or even vaguely related to the promises the President made during the campaign - they'll claim victory and look towards the next election.

    It's difficult to believe that Ted Kennedy would have had anything to do with such a weak-kneed approach to governance.

    AMERICAblog News| A great nation deserves the truth: John Kerry says he's willing to cave on public option too
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    Gold Member sharky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Look at the direction things are going in, look at the pattern that's already been established.
    This is depressing...

    You're right. The Dems need to act strongly and decisively and they need to do it asap!

    The Repubs are depending on the stupidity of the public, and unfortunately that's a HUGE number.

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    I don't see double digit losses for the Democrats. Sure Obama has slipped some in the polls, but he's still above 50% (unless you look as Rasmussen, which has an axe to grind). Moreover, Obama and the Dems look better when compared with the Republicans.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    1) it's been a 20 point loss.

    2) that isn't much of a statement. That's like saying "well, better than Bush!"... technically true, but the bar is set so low my desk lamp is better than Bush.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    More bad news!

    We started asking the generic congressional ballot question in our weekly State of the Nation Research 2000/Daily Kos poll back on May 21. Watch how the numbers have behaved since then:



    That's a six-point Democratic lead -- better than a deficit, but down significantly from the 12-point lead we saw back in late May.

    The graph shows the obvious trend -- Republicans have gained nothing in the last four months, but Democrats have faltered badly. Let's dig into the internals:

    QUESTION: Would you like to see more Democrats or Republicans elected to Congress in 2010?

    5/18-21 8/24-27

    Dem GOP Not Sure Dem GOP Not Sure

    All 42 30 28 34 28 38

    Dem 80 4 16 73 5 22

    Rep
    5 79 16 5 82 13

    Ind 34 24 42 21 16 63

    White 33 36 31 25 34 41

    Black
    73 4 23 62 6 32

    Latino
    57 25 18 50 21 29

    Other 59 24 17 52 16 32

    18-29 49 19 32 47 10 43

    30-44 39 36 25 27 38 35

    45-59 43 30 27 35 24 41

    60+
    40 32 28 32 33 35

    Northeast 52 16 32 46 9 45

    South 33 42 25 23 44 33

    Midwest 44 28 28 36 25 39

    West 43 30 27 35 28 37


    As noted already, this marks a halving of the Democrats' lead since we first asked this question. Democrats have lost eight points, Republicans 2, while the undecided have swelled by 10 points.

    Note the partisan trends -- Republicans have barely budged. They've been home for a while. Democrats have lost among self-identified Democrats, losing a net eight points. But look at Independents, who appear more disgusted at the political process than anything. Democrats have lost 13 points among Independents--or 38 percent--but Republicans have lost 8 points as well, or 33 percent off their May levels. Meanwhile, the "not sure" numbers among Independents is up 50 percent to 42 percent.

    We're not seeing a partisan shift among Independents, rather a tuning out. They clearly remain unhappy with Republicans (at 16%), but are becoming disenchanted with Democrats. If the Republican message was winning the debate, Independents would be flocking to the GOP. Instead, they appear more disgusted at Democratic incompetence than policy.

    Republicans have picked up a sliver of support (a single point) from Democrats and those older than 60 years old, two points among Generation Xers (the most Republican-identifying generation), and two points from their regional stronghold in the South. They've lost ground among all other demographics.

    Problem is, Democrats are losing ground at far bigger rates. People are unsure whether Democrats have what it takes to enact real change, and deliver on their grand promises from the 2006 and 2008 campaigns.

    With Independents potentially sitting this next election out (as the numbers hint at), we're in bad shape in a base election. Core Republicans are engaged and solidly home. Democratic constituencies are wavering (look at those African American numbers). The only key Democratic constituency to have moved more Democratic are young voters -- from +30 Democratic to +37, but only because they are abandoning Republicans at a bigger rate than Democrats. And even those gains are threatened by the (non) geniuses in DC seriously contemplating a health care mandate without cost controls (like the public option).

    At current rates, any 2010 losses would not stem from any resurgence in conservative ideology -- Republicans are simply not making any significant gains anywhere -- but in a loss of confidence in Democrats. There's a way to change that dynamic -- deliver on the promises made the last two election cycles. Failure to do that would make cynics out of too many idealistic political newcomers, while turning off base activists who do the hard on-the-ground work of winning elections.

    Seems pretty obvious out here, outside the Beltway, and the numbers bear it out, but there's no indication that Democratic Party leaders in DC -- from Obama to Reid -- are fully aware of how dangerously close they are to setting the stage for an electoral drubbing in 2010.

    Daily Kos: Democratic intensity lagging badly
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    *cough* not to say 'i told you so', but yeah, i told you so...

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — A majority of independent voters disapprove of how Barack Obama's handling his job as president, according to a new national poll.

    Fifty-three percent of independents questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say they disapprove of how Obama's handling his duties in the White House, with 43 percent in approval. That result marks the first time in a CNN poll that a majority of independents give the president's performance a thumbs-down.

    Obama's overall approval rating of 53 percent is down 3 points from a month ago, and down 8 points from June. Forty-five percent of those questioned disapprove, up 5 points from a month ago and up 8 points from June.

    According to the poll, nine in 10 Democrats approve of the job Obama's doing, up three points from a month ago, with 15 percent of Republicans approving, down 8 points.

    "Obama won a majority of the vote among independents last year, and that helped put him in the White House," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Losing their support makes it more difficult for Obama to govern from the center."

    Broken down by issues, the president still gets majority support on foreign affairs and terrorism, but a majority now disapprove of how he has handled health care, taxes, the economy and the budget deficit.

    Is the fight over health care responsible for the downturn in Obama's numbers?

    "Yes, in part, but his standing on some other issues has taken an even bigger tumble," adds Holland. "Among all Americans, his rating on health care has dropped 13 points since March. Compare that to his 16 point drop on the deficit and 17 point dip on taxes and it looks like there is growing discontent with Obama's overall domestic agenda — not just his health care policy."

    According to the poll, Obama's approval rating on how he is handling the war in Afghanistan also fell 18 points since March.

    The survey also indicates that 37 percent of Americans think the media has treated Obama fairly, down 18 points from February. One in four say the media has been too critical of the president, up seven points from February and 36 percent say the media has not been critical enough, up 10 points.

    The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Monday, with 1,010 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

    CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive - CNN Poll: Independents disapprove of Obama « - Blogs from CNN.com
    Independents don't give a crap about 'bipartisanship'.
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    Yes, you've proved my point. In that poll you posted, the generic Democratic candidate still does better than the generic Republican candidate. And yes, it is the Republicans that the Democrats will run against. Elections are always comparisons, and often are the lesser of two evils.

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