Commentary Magazine


The Political Noose Tightens for Dems

Gallup’s generic ballot poll (courtesy of the indispensible RealClearPolitics) shows a 49-43 percent lead for the GOP, the largest lead for Republicans since the poll started in the midpoint of the last century. The fact that this is almost unsurprising is evidence of the dangers facing the Democratic Party, and the modern liberal agenda, this November.

Among the problems for Democrats is that the narrative of the election — a bad economy, profligate spending, misplaced priorities, and the Obama administration’s general incompetence — is just about baked into the cake, absent some extraordinary intervening events. And the news for President Obama and Democrats continues to get worse rather than better. Even David Gergen is turning on the president.

President Obama and his party have been on a fairly steady slide since last summer, based on virtually every conceivable political metric (approval ratings, generic ballot polls, enthusiasm gap, trust in government, confidence in Congress, support for the stimulus package, the unpopularity of health care reform, et cetera).

The only good news is that according to Gallup, Americans’ favorable ratings of the Democratic and Republican parties are near record lows for each, with a 36 percent favorable score for the Republican Party (which is five percentage points above the low established in December 1998), while the Democratic Party’s 43 percent is just two points higher than its record low measured in March. The current poll marks the second successive sub–50 percent rating for the Democrats after the party had been consistently above that mark since July 2006, meaning that even the good news for Democrats is qualified.

The political noose continues to tighten around the necks of Democrats. Cheerleaders of the president — and there are still plenty of those in the political class — will explain all this as the result of bad luck or blame it on the previous administration. The rest of America considers this the results of a president whose agenda is failing virtually across the board.