Saturday, March 21, 2009
Congressional generic polls leaning towards Republicans
Public preference for control of Congress: Tied at 42@
Just as the economic news was relentlessly negative until the last few days, poll numbers for Republicans were horrific for months. So the GOP should be heartened by the first encouraging polling news it has received perhaps since Lehman Brothers defaulted in mid-September: Republicans have pulled even with Democrats on the generic congressional ballot test, according to a survey by a respected pair of firms.
In the new National Public Radio poll conducted by the Democratic polling company Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and its Republican counterpart, Public Opinion Strategies, 42 percent of the 800 likely voters surveyed March 10 to 14 said that if the next congressional election were held today they would vote for the Republican candidate; an identical percentage of respondents said they would vote for the Democratic one. For several years, Democrats held a substantial lead on this question.
If this is true, it is not evidence that something has gone wrong for the Obama administration. It is an indication of how fickle public opinion is, and how no matter what there is a tendendcy towards divided government. Democrats should think hard and long about what they really want to be known for and what we wish to use our political capital to accomplish.
Then, we should go full speed ahead. The best argument we can make in 2010 regardless of the prevailing issues of the day will be that as a party we tried to do what we thought was best for America.
President Obama has the right tone, and much of the right agenda.
I wish he had a more market oriented approach to his health care and education programs but I truly love his devotion to doing big things.
The political wisdom will try to convince Obama to be more bipartisan and more measured.
They didn't, haven't, and couldn't get elected.
If Obama does 100% of the right thing, (whatever that is), there would still be an instinct in the body politic to lean towards divided government. When you win, as Democrats have, it becomes harder to keep winning.
What is necessary is principle. Focus on doing the right thing.
I would suggest we discard the gay rights lobby from our coalition, and add progressive minded evangelicals who want universal healthcare and a new economy.
But short of that, full speed ahead, and get as much done as possible.
It might be just that is the best way to keep and even add to our numbers in Congress.
Worrying about losing seats and power, brings that about much earlier.