Lake said there is a lot for Democrats to celebrate in the poll, with voters rating dysfunction in Washington the number one issue, higher than jobs and the economy combined, and placing the lion’s share of the blame for the shutdown on the Republicans. But Democrats face challenges as well, especially with turnout. “You see that playing out in the Virginia race right now,” she said, where only half the vote that turned out in 2012 is expected at the polls tomorrow. If this pattern holds, 34 million votes from 2012 won’t be there in 2014, “and two-thirds are Democratic votes,” she said.
Secondly, with budget talks underway on Capitol Hill, Lake said it would be “a political and policy disaster” for Democrats to agree to cuts in Social Security and Medicare—the GOP’s apparent price for relieving some of the pressure from the spending caps imposed by sequestration.
Lake said that compared with George W. Bush at this point in his second term, Obama is in better shape. “He still has plenty of room to lead,” she asserted, adding, “If not him, who? He’s the only game in town.” Obama is being hurt by a barrage of daily stories about angry, frightened and confused Americans being dropped by their insurance company, losing the doctor they relied on, and told their only alternative is to pay more for benefits they can’t afford or don’t want.