Skip to comments.Dems alarmed as Independents bolt party [voters see dems as a party of high spending]
Posted on 11/18/2009 2:12:52 AM PST by Former Military Chick
Mounting evidence that independent voters have soured on the Democrats is prompting a debate among party officials about what rhetorical and substantive changes are needed to halt the damage.
Following serious setbacks with independents in off-year elections earlier this month, White House officials attributed the defeats to local factors and said President Barack Obama sees no need to reposition his own image or the Democratic message.
Since then, however, a flurry of new polls makes clear that Democrats are facing deeper problems with independentsthe swing voters who swung dramatically toward the party in 2006 and 2008 but who now are registering deep unease with the amount of spending and debt called for under Obama's agenda in an era of one-party rule in Washington.
A Gallup Poll released last week offered a disturbing glimpse about the state of play: just 14 percent of independents approve of the job Congress is doing, the lowest figure all year. In just the past few days alone, surveys have shown Democratic incumbents trailing Republicans among independent voters by double-digit margins in competitive statewide contests in places as varied as Connecticut, Ohio and Iowa.
Obamas own popularity among independents has fallen significantly, too. A CBS News poll Tuesday showed the presidents approval rating among unaligned voters falling to 45 percent down from 63 percent in April.
We withdrew from the accounts of voters and now we need to pay them back, said Nathan Daschle, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association. We are having these conversations right now about what independents need to see and hear.
Pat Waak, the chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party, said the party had so far failed to convince independent voters of the steps it had taken to improve the economy.
I think the economy is at the base of the tension, she said. Quite frankly, weve got to do a better job of messaging. Theres a lot of work to be done to get independents more comfortable with what were doing.
Listen, it hasnt been an easy time, said T.J. Rooney, a former state legislator and the chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Its almost like were a victim of our own success. When youre governing, that changes the political dynamic.
Andrew Myers, who polled for Democrats in Virginia House of Delegates races this year, said his analysis of exit polls indicated that voters had come to see Democrats as a party of high spending too willing to make a rush for the pocketbooks and unable to effectively articulate how their health care reform push benefited independents, many of whom already have insurance plans.
This is whats particularly heartbreaking: There is a real sense that no one in Congress is standing up for them, said Myers. Its a real problem for messaging for us.
Nowhere was that more obvious than in Virginia and New Jersey, where GOP candidates captured governorships on Nov. 3 on the strength of landslide margins among independent voters.
In Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell won a 65 percent to 34 percent victory over Democrat Creigh Deeds among independents in a state where President Barack Obama split the independent vote 49 percent to 48 percent against Republican John McCain just one year earlier.
In New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie won a 58 percent to 31 percent victory over Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine among independents a stark contrast to Obamas 51 percent to 47 percent win among independents in 2008.
The perception of whats happening in Congress is polluting whats happening down below, Myers said.
Michael Dimock, a pollster for the Pew Research Center which reported in a new survey that only 45 percent of independents want their own representative to return to Congress also believes Democrats have suffered for their inability to move the ball on key agenda items such as health care.
I think its about action and not about words right now. The public wants to see action, said Dimock. Im not sure words are going to help Democrats at this point. Theyve got to achieve some successes.
Independents are typically more frustrated with the political process, noted Dimock. They tend to have a real distaste for partisanship and ideology, and thats about all theyre hearing right now.
Some strategists, however, attribute the partys weak Election Day showing among independent voters to changes in the composition of the independents who showed up at the polls.
What we saw are more independents who are like Republicans and fewer independents who are like Democrats, said Brad Lawrence, a veteran Democratic media consultant in New Jersey who worked for Corzine. I think there was an enthusiasm gap.
This was not the same group of independents who showed up in 2008, noted Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist. For Obamas election, the participating independents were more moderate; for Christie and McDonnell, the composition of the independents that came to the polls was more conservative. Its this self-selection among the independent voter pool that helped the Democrats in 2008 and hurt them in 2009.
Democrats also argue that with polls showing fewer voters identifying themselves as Republicans, the pool of independent voters is simply becoming more conservative than in the past, as those formerly Republican voters move into that camp. An October Washington Post/ABC News survey, for example, found just 20 percent of those polled identifying themselves as Republican.
It looks a lot worse than it really is, said John Anzalone, a veteran Democratic pollster. Independents arent just falling away from Democrats.
Still, Anzalone cautioned that with the partys agenda under fire from Republicans and allied conservative groups, Democrats in conservative Southern and Western states need to be aware of the potential peril in alienating independent voters.
An automated survey released Monday by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling underscored that message with its finding that Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder, a seven-term Arkansas congressman, was only narrowly leading his little-known Republican challengers and held just a 30 percent approval rating among independents.
The erosion among independents, however, isnt simply a regional problem. Democrats are anxious about the prospects of five-term Sen. Chris Dodd in Connecticut, who trails one of his GOP opponents by 28 percentage points among independents in a prospective head-to-head matchup, and Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, two Democratic incumbents with shrinking approval ratings among independent voters. A Des Moines Register poll released this weekend showed the first-term Culver trailing the GOP front-runner among independents by nearly 30 percentage points.
Its a challenge, said Chris Redfern, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, referring to the current election environment. But, he added, we dont need all of them back. We just need a majority.
Sen. Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, acknowledged that the recent polls constituted red flags for Democrats. But he said voters remained unsatisfied with a Republican Party that, he said, had yet to demonstrate an ability to prove it has answers to the problems facing the country.
I take this data with a grain of salt, Menendez told POLITICO. At this moment in time, we may not be doing as well with independents as Id like, but Republicans arent doing well, either.
I actually do not think it is as simple as it is about independents, I think many voted to make "history", now that they have done that, they have to find a way to garner their support and I just do not see it.
They have lost the youth, and seniors and Obama isn't on the ballot next November.
They can try to rationalize declining support any way they want but in the end it’s OBAMA’S fault!
The irony strikes me...the dem's loss of independent voters may be the only thing the dems can't blame on Bush.
The republican's biggest asset is going to be these people's delusions!
In other words, “independents” are slow to catch on—pathologically slow. That’s where the half whose IQ is less than 100 are. The 14% who approve of the job Congress is doing must be the ones whose IQ is less than 75.
The swing voter or as I like to call them the lazy voter who is always late to the event.
Spending is bad enough, it’s the wasted spending with NO results at all.
It was spending to get the governor’s of NJ and VA elected and not about jobs jobs jobs.
All the spinning in the world cannot hide the fact that another half a million jobs were lost.
“They can try to rationalize declining support any way they want but in the end its OBAMAS fault!”
It’s true. The predominant Socialist attitude, and direction was apparent, has been apparent eminating from the soul of the Democrat Party since the seventies, yet even during and after Clinton they managed to maintain an appearance of Americanism until 2006. It seems to me it was with Pelosi and Reid that their Leftist attitude spilled over the levee, and then with the election of Obama it became a flood.
Obama was elected because of his race. The man had no qualifications to be POTUS. None.
Obama and his minions are oblivious to the electoral disaster that is heading their way. A key indicator is what happened in state and local elections. Here in Pennsylvania, the GOP won across the board, electing four new high-level Republican judges, and back home in Southwest Virginia, typically a democrat stronghold, the GOP cleaned house, electing a Republican delegate the the state legislature for the first time in 60 years.
and to prove how out of touch they are.....they think this is about “messaging” that ain’t the problem Bro.....we got the message and we HATE it
Who's kidding who? This was no reporting error. This was money laundering and government fraud....purposefully done to get the stim to "insiders." The stim is nothing more than a slush fund----to be used for campaigns and for personal purposes.
STIMULUS SCAM---A DEM SLUSH FUND Keep in mind, some 85% of Obama's stimulus is still in Washington. Ohaha's saving it for imperiled Dems' 2010-12 elections.
Americans are awakening to the fact that govt insiders are mishandling trillions in stimulus------that federal monies are being illegally directed to Democrat campaign coffers, or wire-transferred offshore into personal accounts......or being laundered in the states.
$17.5 BILLION STIM WAS HIDDEN IN NJ News reports indicated that it dusappeared, that there was no trace of the stim. Some of it was supposed to reelect Corzine....but Corzine flopped via voters' backlash. Anyway, Obama and the Biden family have a nice stash in the Garden State. Luckily, Corzne once headed Goldman Sachs and knows "the ropes" for looting and pillaging piles of money that is not his.
REFERENCE On June 9, 2009 Ohaha called a press conference to announce, "Several financial institutions are set to pay back $68B to taxpayers." Resonable people (taxpayers) assumed that any money or profit would be returned to the general funds from whence it had come .......in order to pay down the debt. The truth, however, is that the money returned by the banks is finding new life as part of what amounts to a Treasury Dept-controlled slush fund.
Obama's pork-laden stimulus, and other wasteful spending, isn't doing much good. US unemployment keep rising to levels not seen in decades, w/ scant hope of a rebound. We can safely conclude that creating jobs was NOT the reason for Ohaha's trillion dollar stimulus.
REFERENCE We kept reading and hearing anout Ohaha rushing Congress to approve $787 billion stimulus package" early this year. Now uber-Lobbyist Thomas Hale Boggs, Esq interviewed by nightly network news said, "there's $2 TRILLION federal stimulus waiting to be distributed". Boggs said he is getting unprecedented numbers of calls from all over the US......from those who want a piece of it. (Boggs is the son of former Cong Hale Boggs and brother of former ABC-TV commentator Cokie Roberts).
We need audits, WH cell phone records, computer links, wire-transfers, and bank records to get an accurate accounting of the stimulus (our tax dollars).
>> Some 80% of the federal stim (read slush fund) remains unspent. Ohaha is saving it to finance 2010 Dem candidates.
>> Ohaha placed Biden in charge of the stim disbursement.
CLEARLY OBAMA WAS DESPERATE FOR CORZINE TO WIN Ohaha campaigned in the state three times, saying Corzine was his "partner." Biden was there twice. Reinforcing the Dem disaster, Corzine had the Obama machine behind him. The NY Times reported:
(a) every TV ad Corzine put on the air was being screened by Obama's WH team.
(b) Corzine's aides gave the WH daily briefings.
(c) Obamas pollsters took over for Corzines polling team, and,
(d) White House operatives were on the ground for internal strategy sessions,
(e) White House operatives were orchestrating obscure pep rallies with Latinos (kept secret from voters),
(f) Corzine had a "Peruvian Pac" endorsing him.
The more important election for PA (and everywhere else) is next year. Those state legislators will be the ones that perform redistricting. I hope we can see Patrick Murphy redistricted out of existence and a GOP majority firmed up.
Keep it rhetorical. I want to see a Republican Congress in 2010.
There you go! Theyre going to shovel them some BS bread and circuses!! Is that perfect or what?!
How about the lapdog media do a big expose on Sarah Palin ? Or Glenn Beck? Yea, yea, thats the ticket!!
Lazy and disinterested is the key. Their knowledge of civics is typically FAR less than their knowledge of the inner workings of the Patriots (or Mets or Lakers or North Stars, etc.). They are a large part of why this nation has problems.
They know nothing about civics and they are so surprised when the court system sucks them in and spits them out.
Listen, it hasnt been an easy time, said T.J. Rooney, a former state legislator and the chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Its almost like were a victim of our own success.
Someone take this guy's bong away. He's delusional.
Ye of little faith. There is NOTHING the (BBC) Blame Bush Czar can't do.
Well, it seems to me that if they blame Bush for the democrats loss of independents then it'd sound like he attracted them away from the dems...something I can't imagine them wanting to admit or say. Typically, liberals insult the intelligence of anyone who differs from them, so they're more likely to call independents idiots, forgetting that they may want to try to lure them back.
Why do you think Obama and his thuggery are now talking about ‘helping small businesses’? Putting out headlines that Goldman Sachs will be giving 500 million to small businesses (such a pittance compared to the Billions they took from us) Congressional elections are coming, and they know we are going to Flip The House!.
Where would they get such an idea? Certainly not from the drive-by media.
Success? At What? The destruction of western capitalism?
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