President Barack Obama may be critically weakened politically in the 2010 election cycle, as his stranglehold on American agendas will diminish if citizens vote Republicans in and Democrats out of Congress.
Predicting the outcome in 2010 is obviously guesswork, but numbers don’t lie. If the nation’s political trend continues, Democrats will not have the control they enjoy today in Congress, according to poll trends.
There are two important indicators when trying to predict the outcome of an election. The first is the generic ballot, which asks voters for which party they will vote.
The second is the presidential approval rating, which tracks the approval and disapproval percentage of the president. Both measures are significant when trying to predict where the nation’s vote is heading.
Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz said in an article for the University of Virginia Center for Politics, “The more popular the president and the better the president’s party performs on the generic ballot question, the fewer seats the president’s party can expect to lose in both the House and Senate.”
Abramowitz said Democrats are likely to lose 15 House seats in the 2010 election, “and their losses could go as high as 30 to 40 seats,” considering political trends.
According to a Gallup poll, Obama began his presidency with 68 percent approval. For September, that rating averaged 52 percent. This is probably a result of controversial foreign policy and health care reform.
A Rasmussen Report poll shows Obama was at 62 percent in January 2009, and that approval dropped to 49 percent for September.
Gallup reported that Obama has the second-lowest approval rating for September of his first term of any president since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. Former President Bill Clinton had the lowest, and his party suffered major losses in the 1994 midterm elections. Democrats lost eight seats in the Senate and 54 seats in the House, shifting both from a Democratic to a Republican majority.
According to Gallup, Republicans trailed Democrats by 14 percent in party identification in 2008. Democrats now lead by only 5 percent.
Some independents, who helped Obama win the election, have turned against him. According to a poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, 46 percent of independents now disapprove of Obama while only 41 percent approve, compared to 49 percent and 38 percent, respectively, in July.
With support for Obama’s agendas diminishing, there is still time for the Democratic Party to regain its momentum despite being 13 months away from the congressional election. However, they show no sign of doing so.
A landslide victory for the Republicans in the House is possible if Democrats do not heed the advice of their constituents.
While the election is not decided, it does not look good for Democrats. More independents are moving away from Obama, and the Republicans will make a comeback next year.
Erik Raymond is a graduate student majoring in liberal arts.