Green Room

2010: Demoralized Dems, selectively suicidal

posted at 3:34 pm on December 12, 2009 by

The Democrats’ political erosion continues, even in the dKos tracking poll:

A good part of this has been base driven. In August, the Republican base was slightly more likely to view their party unfavorably (23%) than was the Democratic base (20%). Today, Democrats are four times more likely to view their party negatively (24%) than are Republicans (6%).

There has also been Independent movement, however. The favorability rating of Democrats among Independent voters has shed seven points in that four-month span (42 to 35) while the GOP has seen their favorability rating with Independents go up eleven points, although in fairness increases in support are easier to attain when you are starting, essentially, at zero (from 5 to 16).

***

We also see, in this weeks tracking poll, that while Democrats still lead on our variation of the generic ballot test (by four points), they trail for the first time with Independents. This is particularly notable, because the favorability rating for Democrats among Indies, while down quite a bit (35/61), is far stronger than that of the GOP among Indies, which is still pathetic even as it has improved markedly (16/73).

Pundits like Kevin Drum continue to fret over whether Dems are sunk:

Is lefty obsession with the public option going to torpedo Dems in 2010? Or will everyone manage to get energized in time for the midterms?

(Drum’s short piece is amusing, insofar as he admits his first instinct was to laugh off attacks on the Dems unprecedented spending binge, but I digress.)

Pres. Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, David Plouffe, maintains that liberals will ultimately come back into the fold when it matters in forthcoming elections. He is almost certainly right — and, as far as he goes, it’s not even a gutsy prediction. As Tom Jensen of Dem polling firm Public Policy Polling notes, liberal unhappiness with Obama is not very widespread.

However, approval does not necessarily translate into intenstity, which is the lefty bloggers’ real concern. Generally, the party out of power tends to have more intensity, while the past winners get complacent or apathetic. That the netroots are disgruntled matters primarily to the extent that it reflects on the narrow class of activists and party foot-soldiers needed to run the midterm campaigns. OpenLeft’s Chris Bowers recently wrote about the nature of that disgruntlement:

Destroying a political base often isn’t only about one single issue, even an issue as important as a war. It’s about a set of issues and, even further, an overall feeling of demoralization – one that can’t be turned around a few weeks before an election with some cynical press releases and inspiring speeches.

So sure, the politics of the Afghanistan War are still fluid. But when you put the escalation next to Obama’s wavering on the public option; next to his broken promises of transparency; next to his stances on the Patriot Act and Gitmo; next to his full-on abandonment of his NAFTA pledges – well, you get the kind of demoralization that Kos’s new poll shows.

Bowers may reveal a bit more here than he intended. The Left (and its echo chambers in the establishment media) have been arguing that the Democrats must pass ObamaCare to save themselves in 2010. But if some version of it passes, its substance is likely to disappoint the netroots/activist class, while still motivating Republicans and Independents to vote against Democrats.

Moreover, we rarely hear the netroots or activists pushing the idea that Obama’s policies on Afghanistan or indefinite detention will cost Democrats the 2010 election. The Left aggressively promotes the idea that global warming will destroy Earth as we know it, yet we rarely hear them claim that the Democrats’ failure to pass the cap-and-tax bill so far dooms Democrats next year. If Bowers is correct, passing ObamaCare should have very little effect on Democratic turn out in 2010. If Bowers is wrong, the Left’s selective kamikaze approach speaks volumes about the depth of their obsession with ObamaCare.

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It’s not just war. There’s a lot of people who had been expecting movement on gay rights, and are pissed off that nothing has been done re: DOMA or DADT, amongst other things.

These are politically active people, so they’ll probably still vote, but I think they’re not going to be donating any money to these campaigns that have not helped their pet causes. They realize they’ve been strung along.

meep on December 12, 2009 at 3:46 PM

“next to his stances on the Patriot Act…”

The Left despises the Patriot Act presumably for its violations of civil or privacy rights (despite never being able to cite a single instance of the Patriot Act violating any citizen’s rights) yet has nothing to say about the government’s aggressive instrusion into private life via medical records databases, tracking cookies on White House website, Palin’s pilfered emails, H&HS Napolitano’s alarming directives against political dissent and the entire leftist project to put individuals under the yoke of the State imperium.

rrpjr on December 12, 2009 at 4:04 PM

Pretty good Karl. Although I question everything about polls. It seems they are like any other statistic in that they depend on the wording of the question, who gets polled, how narrow any question-set is. Many things come into play in forming an opinion. And timing is everything.

There seem to be polls published every day, many regarding the same subjects. Polls on bits and pieces of the puzzle will make it difficult to get a good take on what may be in store for elections to be held nearly a year from now.

I don’t poll per se, but have access to the opinions of several hundred people on a regular basis. Personally I’ve never been politically polled. Nor do I know of anyone who has. Who are the people getting asked these questions? Is it like Nielson, a set-top box somewhere in the house? Those folks with clipboards on street corners?

If you simply look at cable news/opinion show ratings is would appear that there’d be a landslide for conservatives next election. If you only polled folks passing by at the corner of Haight-Ashbury you’d probably think Pelosi would be the next president. Help a fellow out here. How many political pollsters exist, what are their methods? And why haven’t they called Charles Manson, or doesn’t his opinion count?

Robert17 on December 12, 2009 at 6:36 PM

tic toc…tic toc…

winston on December 13, 2009 at 10:40 AM

The entire country is suicidal. The outcome will depend how who’s foolish enough to pull the trigger.

I vote democrats already have a finger on it and a few pounds of pressure. Just a litlle more …

darwin on December 13, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Another winner Karl, good job.

These are politically active people, so they’ll probably still vote, but I think they’re not going to be donating any money to these campaigns that have not helped their pet causes. They realize they’ve been strung along.

I think you raise an interesting point meep, if it comes down to some kind of nose-holding vote, that could mean less $$$ to the dems, something I think is already happening.

JusDreamin on December 13, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Does it really matter if the Lefty base is motivated? Self-described conservatives outnumber self-described Liberals 2:1. This is not a Liberal country. We should beat the Left every election cycle outside of insane asylums like San Francisco or welfare hubs like Detroit.

We also have the advantage of having the Constitution on our side, if only the GOP would use it, to prevent the Left from doing whatever they can get enough votes for.

DerKrieger on December 13, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Healthcare is essential for the Obamacrats because they’re pushing for a totalitarian state where they control every aspect of life. They already are nearly there. The 2010 elections will change nothing.

modifiedcontent on December 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

The left’s politicians have yet to learn the basic political lesson the rights are just beginning to get, that they work for the voter and not for themselves, cocktail party invites, of media love. After bloodbath elections, surviving republicans are hearing a small voice in their heads “Thou art mortal” while the democrat politicians have not even considered the idea that they are not demi-Gods yet. Next year the loss of 40 house members and 3-5 senators might get their attention, or not. (Few things are more arrogant and out of touch as a elected politician)

JIMV on December 13, 2009 at 11:01 AM

The Left despises the Patriot Act presumably for its violations of civil or privacy rights (despite never being able to cite a single instance of the Patriot Act violating any citizen’s rights)

While the Left is certainly hypocritical, there have been abuses of the Patriot Act as shown here and here. Just sayin’.

How many political pollsters exist, what are their methods?

Most polling outfits show their selection criteria and methodology, as well as their sample size. A typical sample size would be around 1000 people. So you have 1000 people out of 100 million that they ‘represent’ as voters or a sampling rate of 0.001%. Which is why you and all of your friends can easily NEVER be contacted for a poll.

Karl, nice piece and let’s hope that “None are so blind as those who won’t see.”

GnuBreed on December 13, 2009 at 11:04 AM

the Left’s selective kamikaze approach speaks volumes about the depth of their obsession with ObamaCare.

They’ve hung their hat on it. They’re hoping the “fundamental change” in the United States of America promised by Obama et. al. will be codified into it and it can be used over the years, whether during Republican or Democrat administrations, to turn the screws bit by bit an squeeze the last bit of Liberty out of our country, leaving us with a complete Nanny State run by self-appointed experts.

philmon on December 13, 2009 at 11:08 AM

For the second day in a row, Rasmussen has the president’s polling softening to new lows. He’s on an elevator heading down. He seems to be in especially big trouble with independents and the middle class, reflecting the fact that they’ve figured out who pays for the DemocratCare reforms.

MTF on December 13, 2009 at 11:11 AM

They aren’t going to vote in an off Presidential Election Year….they don’t have the “American Idol” to run in each race which is what Barack H Obama was a Cult Of Personality.

But what people are not focusing on what if Obama wants the Congress to tip? It might be a lot easier for him to work with the opposition party than his own left leaning party…..We know it saved Bill Clinton’s Presidency when the Congress flipped Republican.

Dr Evil on December 13, 2009 at 11:38 AM

It’s the deficit ans unemployment stupid.

jukin on December 13, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Those pollsters, especially those run by the democrats for the strategists of their party, need to put another box next to “very dis-satisfied”. Good pollsters need to be personally detached from the data they compile to be accurate, but it’s working against them at this point in time.

Very dis-satisfied can’t measure sleepless nights. There’s no box on a poll that measures how much fingernail has been chewed off. I’ve yet to hear of a poll that only asks those highly-coveted independants how their opinions have changed in the year since they voted for “change”.

If democrat pollsters were smart, they could judge opposition to this congress’s agenda by looking elsewhere, perhaps in sales figures for gold and silver, or brass and lead, or gun safe sales, or on the NYT non-fiction best sellers list.

“Very dis-satisfied” doesn’t come close to the level of dis-illusionment many who voted for “change” now feel, much less the level of anger and worry those of us on the right now harbor.

OneEyedJack on December 13, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Robert17, I have been polled maybe 2-3 times, while living in the city and living in the country. I was polled last year during the elections, but I can’t remember what the poll details were. I was also called by bambi canvassers last year, but cut that one short with a brief “this is a Republican household”, though that wasn’t a poll.

Researcher...MO on December 13, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Most quarterbacks that produce this many fumbles and interceptions usually lose their jobs. Problem, who who take over? Next season will tell.

LarryG on December 13, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Sorry about the mistake – replace 2nd who with will.

LarryG on December 13, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Well, as much as I am horrified to hear of my fellow man considering suicide (and with liberals, I am using the word “man” in its broadest sense), I suppose that if the lefties in question have siblings, then obviously some of them need to go in order to help us save the earth.

So man-up, libs.

Jaibones on December 13, 2009 at 1:11 PM

Another thing they fail to consider is that the Corruptocrats “true base” is taking it in the shorts thanks to their party’s own policies.

In many states government employees, including teachers, are looking at their pensions/gravy train benefits and even their jobs going up in smoke. The federal employees are still living high on the gravy train but the wisest of them know that isn’t going to last much longer.

The UAW got what they wished for, now they are finding out that it will kill them off. GM and Chrysler will either go out of business or move everything offshore leaving them living off of welfare and food stamps because their pensions will go *POOF!* when those companies do.

The SEIU rank and file are losing their jobs right and left because the businesses that their employees work at are either going out of business or doing massive cutbacks. Their union boss being Obamao’s BFF isn’t doing them much good, atm.

The radical left feels like they have been used like a two bit whore by Obamao and the Corruptocrats (which they have, BTW). They aren’t getting what they want and are already banging their spoons on their high chair trays. Not only that but the era of the “perpetual college student” and Big Academia in general is dying thanks to the money drying up to fund their fantasylands. Look for these people to start getting very violent soon-the incidents Berzerkley are just the beginning of this.

The MSM and Big Hollywood are watching their industries die and their jobs with it. Yes, I know some leftard will bring up that “Hollywood is going to have a record year” BS but when you look at how much the dollar is actually worth compared to 50 years ago you will find that it really isn’t what it appears. All you have to do is look at the moves that the owners of these companies are doing to know that Hollywood is gasping for cash like a fish flopping around on a river bank. NBC has served it’s purpose to Immelt, Obamao and the Corruptocrats and is now being sold to Comcast. Look for Comcast to either majorly revamp (as in kick the Obamao worshipers to the curb) or eliminate MSNBC because it is a huge black hole where money goes in and never comes out. Bailing out the newspapers like the Corruptocrats want to do will have about the same effect as bailing out GM did.

Nahanni on December 13, 2009 at 1:19 PM

I question everything about polls. It seems they are like any other statistic in that they depend on the wording of the question, who gets polled, how narrow any question-set is. Many things come into play in forming an opinion. And timing is everything.

Robert17 on December 12, 2009 at 6:36 PM

I regularly write about polls to make the point that polling — and reading polls — is as much art as science. That wasn’t the topic here, but I would say this. The dKos poll is a tracking poll, so — absent changes to the questions — it should give an accurate reading of a trend (in this case, the GOP improvement since the summer). Moreover, while I did not link to other polls here, the results are broadly consistent with a slate of other polls, both as to the GOP’s improvement on the generic ballot (coming mostly from Independents) and Democratic apathy about the 2010 midterms (consistent with the actual results in VA and NJ this year).

You are correct that no one should place much weight on a cherry picked number from the topline of a single poll. It’s always much better to compare a poll to prior polling from the same outfit, and to the general polling picture from all polls. The latter is why, over time, people are recognizing the value of poll averages compiled by Real Clear Politics and Pollster.com.

Karl on December 13, 2009 at 1:56 PM

I vote democrats already have a finger on it and a few pounds of pressure. Just a litlle more …

darwin on December 13, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Darwin,

They have already pulled it hard enough to fire off the killing round. The problem is that it hasn’t struck a vital spot yet, but is still bouncing around. When they pass another major tax/spending bill, they will strike a vital spot.

belad on December 13, 2009 at 1:58 PM

She definitely doesn’t look like no steer. Oh wait!

Egfrow on December 13, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Karl on December 13, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Thanks for the insight.

Robert17 on December 14, 2009 at 8:12 AM