According to a just-released AP-Gfk poll, Congressional approval is at 7%. People are also mad at Obama. 58% of those polled are angry with the administration, and 74% are angry at the Republican leadership in Congress. What does this mean to the midterm elections? Will a surge of angry voters converge on the polls on November 4th and wreak a vengeful justice on Washington DC? Unfortunately for Obama, likely not. Likely not, because midterm elections have consistently produced lower voter turnouts than presidential elections; around 40% compared with around 60%, depending on how you calculate the size of the eligible voting public. Unfortunately for Obama, because lower voter turnout favors the party not in the White House. Republicans have this key advantage then going into these midterms; their voter engagement will pay more dividends. Plus there’s the why of midterm election’s low turnout. Several reasons have been proposed including the fact that presidential elections are galvanizing and tend to produce a swing towards one party that energizes it’s partisans to vote in larger numbers. Come midterms, however, there seems to usually be a reckoning of sorts, and Obama is certainly facing one now. Voters that came out in 2012 are much more likely to stay home and hence the shouting about voter registration: Democrats know they are going to lose seats in Congress. The only question is how many?

So what is on the mind of all these angry votes, who might just stay home rather than vote. As often is the case, it’s the economy for 90% of those polled in the AP-Gfk poll. When people say the economy, they mean jobs. When people say jobs, they wonder why the recovery is so slow. When they think of that, the administrations policies – taxes, regulations, energy policy, etc come under attack. As does Obamacare, because of the added costs imposed on business. These are the kinds of problems that require sensible tax polices and steady handed management that does not get too heavy handed or distracted. Unfortunately, we have a distracted president, some of it for understandable reasons like ISIS even if his response to ISIS has not always been appropriate, and some of it because of worries in the White House about losing the Senate. Not the best way to get people back to work. Once the GOP has taken advantage of a distracted president and an angry bunch of voters, they too will have to bring clear ideas to the table about putting people back to work. Not that they lack them. They just need to show voters they have a plan, a coherent, understandable one. And then Congressional approval ratings can soar back up to 30%, or even higher. Who knows?

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