TDS Co-Editor William Galston: Can Democrats Recover Before the Midterms?
This item by TDS Co-Editor William Galston is cross-posted from The New Republic.
I've just received the top-line numbers of Democracy Corps' most recent poll. From a Democratic standpoint, there's hardly any good news. Here are the essential findings among likely voters:
· right track/wrong track: 31/61
· the economy: has bottomed out and is starting to improve (40); is at the bottom and is not yet getting any better (22); has not yet bottomed out and will still get worse (34)
· Obama approval/disapproval: 45/51
· Obama shares/doesn't share your values: 46/51
· Obama is/isn't on your side: 45/52
· Obama is/isn't too liberal: 57/38
· Obama is/isn't a big spender: 61/34
· Obama is/isn't a socialist: 55/39
· Obama has/doesn't have realistic solutions to the country's problems: 43/55
· Mean Republican/Democratic Party ratings: 46.0/43.3
· Mean Congressional Republican/Democrat ratings: 43/4/40.7
· Generic Republican/Democratic Congressional support in November: 48/42
As if all this weren't bad enough for Democrats, the survey reveals that they've lost control of the narrative. For example:
"The best way to improve our economy and create jobs is to invest more to put people to work, develop new industries, and help businesses grow in expanding, new areas."
"The best way to improve our economy and create jobs is to cut government spending and cut taxes so businesses can prosper and the private sector can start creating jobs."
FIRST STATEMENT: 43
SECOND STATEMENT: 50
I doubt that anything that will happen between now and election day (or anything Democrats can say) will substantially alter these views; history suggests that by now, they're too entrenched. And Obama's ratings, though higher than those of congressional Democrats, are hardly robust. It's difficult to avoid the conclusion that in this year's contested races, Democrats who can't win based on local issues or opposition research will probably lose.