New polls show perils for incumbents of both parties

PHILADELPHIA - MARCH 18: Democratic Presidenti...

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Polls are always a snapshot in time at best.  Their questions and the way they’re asked can influence answers. And their margins of error mean the numbers aren’t really all that accurate even for a particular moment.  That said, a couple of new polls reported today on, my favorite politics site (and I don’t even get a cut) suggest that incumbents had better duck and cover even as the president shows signs of having ridden out the worst of the health care quake.

I actually don’t need a poll to know that Barack Obama has acted more forcefully and presidentially since he mixed it up with Republican lawmakers days after my state, Massachusetts, made a mess of its liberal reputation by electing Republican stud muffin Scott Brown as our senator.

I’m sort of hoping Brown and Sarah Palin fall madly in love and run off together to Tahiti.  But in the meantime it’s going to be the Democrats in Congress who are doing the running — and into a big headwind at that.

So what do the new polls say, already?   The first is a Gallup poll that shows Obama’s weekly job approval rating at 49 percentage positive and 44 percent negative and trending upward. (His daily rating shows a bigger gap, 7 percentage points.) Meanwhile though, Congressional Republicans have climbed past Democrats in Gallup’s generic party poll, leading them by 47 to 44 percent, a mirror image flipflop from less than three weeks ago when Democrats led. So what’s it all mean?  Go figure.

One hint comes in yet another poll, put out by Marist College.  It’s answer is pretty simple: Americans are fired up and ready to fire their elected representatives — from either party. That, of course, is bad news for Democrats because there are more of them in Congress.   Under the headline, “Voters to Congress: ‘Watch Your Back!”  it reports that more Americans now say they’d vote against their own representative to Congress today (45 percent) than for him or her  (41 percent). The other 14 percent?  Unsure. While this is within the margin of error, it is unusual. Even when Americans bash Congress as a whole, they traditionally stand by their own representative.

Or as a third pollster Stan Greenberg told reporters this morning, the Huffington Post reports, “the signs of electoral bloodbath exist today, though not quite as strongly as they did 16 years ago.”

“We are on the edge of it. but we are not there,” Greenberg said, at a breakfast sponsored by theChristian Science Monitor. “If the election were now, we would have a change election; we would have a 1994.”

Here’s hoping a lot of guys wearing three-corner hats and drinking tea aren’t sworn in come January.


About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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One Response to New polls show perils for incumbents of both parties

  1. Pingback: The medical thermometer commonly used in homes can be read +/-0.1 F, whereas those in the doctor's office may

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