Peter Slevin of the Washington Post reports from Mason City, Iowa, and finds this:
Republican Terry Branstad’s lines have a familiar ring as he campaigns to return to the governor’s office after 11 years away. He blasts the incumbent Democrat for “mismanagement,” promising an “economic comeback” and the end of “more government than we can afford.”
The pitch is working. Early polls show Branstad with a lead as large as 20 points over Gov. Chet Culver (D), who is battling a poor economy and frustration fueled by Capitol Hill vitriol that incumbent politicians are not delivering.
The state that launched Barack Obama toward the presidency just two years ago is looking like a tough sell for Democrats in 2010. Culver is in trouble, Rep. Leonard Boswell (D) is threatened, and President Obama’s popularity has dropped by one-third since he took office.
Obama’s approval rating is 15 percent among Republicans — and only 38 percent among independents, a 10-point drop in three months. The biggest issues are the deficit, health care, and the economy. Republican strategist Craig Robinson sees “a dissatisfaction with everything Washington.” Republican state representative Pat Grassley, the 26-year-old grandson of U.S. Senator Charles E. Grassley, says, “I’m seeing people who have never e-mailed me in four years getting involved in issues. There’s frustration out there.”
There is indeed. There is in fact nothing at all unusual about this story from Iowa — which is itself noteworthy. What is happening there seems to be happening almost everywhere in America.
Democrats have a reason to be afraid. Very afraid.