Beware the echo chamber

Answer quickly: How will the Democrats do in the midterm elections in 2010? If your answer included words such as “devastatingly bad” or “historic failure” then you might want to check to see if you are inside an echo chamber.

Currently it is very popular on conservative blogs for people to quote some polling numbers that are quite encouraging. Today’s Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll shows Obama with a 29% strongly approve and 39% strongly disapprove, giving him an approval index rating of -10. The trend of his approval rating certainly looks bad.


On Thursday this week, Fox News released a poll that said only 43% would vote to re-elect President Obama if the election were held today. When Gateway Pundit commented on this, they added an “Obama Tanks” to the headline and ended with the following.

Wait until Americans realize that the trillion dollar stimulus plan failed and that Obama and the democrats set all kinds of ugly spending records along the way.

The hits keep coming. Real Clear Politics has the congressional approval rating at a staggering -41.8, with only 25% approving. With all this negative data flowing in isn’t a huge Democratic defeat in 2010 inevitable? Maybe, maybe not. You have to be careful, for two reasons.

While aggregate numbers may say one thing, individual races are always driven by the actual candidates, their histories, their personalities, and their ability to campaign. As an example, let’s take a look at the U.S senate race in Pennsylvania. The Democratic primary polling shows Specter leading Sestak by 4%. This is the same Specter who switched parties in April to avoid being crushed in the Republican primary. Additional polling shows that Republican candidate Toomey leads Specter by 5% but runs even with Sestak. This race is anything but a done deal. If Specter looses the Democratic primary–and remember he’s only been a Democrat for a few months–then Toomey is in for a tough fight. The picture in Pennsylvania isn’t what one might expect from looking at the national trends.

The other reason for concern is what I will term the Tea Party Effect. The discontent with the Obama administration and the Democratic conference stems mainly from the complete lack of fiscal responsibility and the pushing of a socialist agenda. Republican candidates that offer an alternative to this will likely do well. Challengers that run on other issues may not. This complication is discussed in detail at the Wall Street Journal. (Hat tip: Instapundit, where it is important to note that libertarian Glenn sides with the Tea Party activists, not the Republican party.)

Do the failures of the current administration represent a fantastic opportunity for the Republican party come 2010? Absolutely. Is it a done deal? Not until the votes are counted just over a year from now. And a year in the political arena is an eternity.

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