Bill Clinton just got done explaining to Congressional Democrats that the party lost control of Congress in 1994 because they didn’t pass the Hillarycare takeover of the American health-care industry. Gallup gives a clearer reminder today why Democrats got shoved out of power fifteen years ago, and why they risk losing power today. Republicans lead for the first time in their generic Congressional ballot, with a six-point shift from last month putting them four points over the Democrats. But the real action is with the independents:
Republicans have moved ahead of Democrats by 48% to 44% among registered voters in the latest update on Gallup’s generic congressional ballot for the 2010 House elections, after trailing by six points in July and two points last month.
The Nov. 5-8 update comes just after Republican victories in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections, which saw Republicans replace Democrats as governors of those states.
As was the case in last Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections, independents are helping the Republicans’ cause. In the latest poll, independent registered voters favor the Republican candidate by 52% to 30%. Both parties maintain similar loyalty from their bases, with 91% of Democratic registered voters preferring the Democratic candidate and 93% of Republican voters preferring the Republican.
The gap among independents widened from a dead heat in July to a 22-point lead for the GOP. It’s not difficult to draw a line between this rapid shift and the start of the health-care debate. The flight of independents from the Democrats accelerated at the same time that the details of the taxes and mandates of ObamaCare became known, which has driven independents towards the GOP as the only hope of stopping a runaway Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama.
This exposes Bill Clinton’s conceited revisionism. American voters didn’t reject Democrats in 1994 because they didn’t pass HillaryCare. Voters gave Democrats the boot for even considering HillaryCare. Even Bill Clinton himself didn’t believe differently at the time. He responded to the massive losses in 1994 by triangulating back to the center, not by getting even more radically leftist.
Republicans won in 1994 by focusing on core principles of fiscal conservatism and limited government, principles that appealed to independents frightened by the statist policies of runaway Democrats. Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have essentially created all the conditions of 1994 again for the GOP to use to give them the boot, at least in the House. The Republican Party has to be smart enough to recognize that and seize the moment.
And this time, they’d better stick to those principles, too.