Can incumbents up for re-election this fall raise money fast enough to buy another term?
Judging from a new CNN poll, their chances could boil down to that question. The cable network reports that just over one in three U.S. voters think that most members of Congress deserve another term in office.
OK, so their representatives fare somewhat better. By a margin of 51-44, those polled said they still backed their own representative. But that’s no reason for our elected officials to celebrate.
CNN reports that both the generic “throw the bums out” response and the marginal “I like my rep” response represent the lowest level of support it has ever recorded to these questions.
“The numbers on both questions are even lower than in 1994, when an anti-incumbent fever helped Republicans win back control of both the House and the Senate from Democrats,” CNN reports.
Voter anger is bipartisan, according to the poll. But since Democrats control Congress, their party would likely take the bigger hit.
If the Democrats can find any silver lining in the poll it’s that President Obama isn’t up for re-election. Only 44 percent of those polled said they think he deserves another term.
Maybe more Democrats should be listening to four senators who sent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a letter calling for passage of a health care bill with a public option through reconciliation, a controversial process that would require only a simple majority vote and bypass the paralyzing filibuster (which requires a 60-vote supermajority). CBS News identified the four as Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Co., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. I give them an A for effort anyway.
Perhaps they realize that doing nothing isn’t looking much like a winning strategy for their party in November (though it seems to work just fine for the Republicans). So a novel suggestion: Maybe Democrats should instead try doing something — something other than whining about filibusters or other members of their own party. Something, in other words, that convinces the American people that Democrats are capable of governing, not just talking about it.
Postscript: A thank you to politicalwire.com for pointing me toward these two network news stories.