Summing up its latest poll results, the Washington Post reports:
The survey paints a portrait of a restless and dissatisfied electorate at the beginning of a critical election year. More than seven in 10 Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, and as many say they’re inclined to look for new congressional representation as said so in 1994 and 2006, the last times that control of Congress shifted.
Asked how they would vote in the November House elections, Americans split evenly — 46 percent siding with the Democrats, 46 percent with the Republicans. As recently as four months ago, Democrats held a 51 to 39 percent advantage on this question.
(Other surveys show a lead for Republicans in generic congressional polling.) Many of the poll’s details should cause the Obami, were they inclined to actually pay attention to bad news, some alarm. On health care, the deficit, jobs, and the economy more than 50 percent disapprove of Obama’s performance. By a 55-to-39 percent margin, respondents favor military tribunals over civilian trials for terrorists.
Democrats in Congress should take note as well. By a 57-to-36 percent margin, voters are pleased that the Democrats no longer have a filibuster majority. Ominously for incumbent Democrats, 56 percent are looking around for an alternative to their representative and only 26 percent approve of the job Congress is doing.
These numbers are even worse than they might appear, considering that the respondents were “adults” — not registered or likely voters. Moreover, the sample included only 26 percent Republicans. (Rasmussen shows GOP party identification at 32 percent, Gallup, at 41 percent.)
Simply put, what this and other polls tell us is that Americans don’t like what Obama and the Democrats are doing. It is the substance of their agenda that is unpopular. They don’t mind “gridlock” — in fact, they seem to welcome it, if the alternative is more of what they have seen coming out of Washington. Those incumbents on the ballot in 2010 better be able to make the case to voters that they understand their aversion to the “big bang” agenda of Obama-Pelosi-Reid and that they will do their part to curb, not facilitate, the big government proposals that have frightened voters. That’s a hard case to make for the Democrats, who have already voted repeatedly for that now unpopular agenda. And that is why 2010 promises to be a very scary election for anyone with a “D” next to his or her name.