[Marxism] Grim Voter Mood Turns Grimmer

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 12 08:11:07 MDT 2010


Grim Voter Mood Turns Grimmer
Pessimism Rises on Economy and War; Bad Reviews for Both Democrats and GOP


Americans are growing more pessimistic about the economy and the war in 
Afghanistan, and are losing faith that Democrats have better solutions 
than Republicans, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Underpinning the gloom: Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the 
economy has yet to hit bottom, a sharply higher percentage than the 53% 
who felt that way in January.

The sour national mood appears all-encompassing and is dragging down 
ratings for the GOP too, suggesting voters above all are disenchanted 
with the political establishment in Washington. Just 24% express 
positive feelings about the Republican Party, a new low in the 21-year 
history of the Journal's survey. Democrats are only slightly more 
popular, but also near an all-time low.

A new WSJ/NBC News poll found that Americans are becoming grimmer about 
the economy with nearly two-thirds believing that the economy has yet to 
hit bottom. Peter Wallsten and David Weidner discuss. Also, Scott 
McCartney finds that some airlines are more fuel efficient than others, 
and others are gas guzzlers.

The results likely foreshadow a poor showing in November's mid-term for 
Democrats, whose leaders had hoped the public would grow more optimistic 
about the economy and, as a result, more supportive of the party agenda. 
Now, despite the weak Republican numbers, the survey shows frustrated 
voters on the left are less interested than impassioned voters on the 
right to in the election.

"Even with Republicans having low numbers, they are the opposition party 
and are going to benefit from people saying, 'We're ticked off and we 
want a change,"' said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted 
the survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart. "The way you vote your 
discontent is to say you're going to vote Republican."

Mr. Hart said the 2010 contest is being pulled by the sentiment 
associated with the JetBlue flight attendant who fled his plane via the 
emergency chute after an altercation with a passenger. Calling it the 
"JetBlue election," Mr. Hart said: "Everyone's hurling invective and 
they're all taking the emergency exit."

As in recent polls, Americans are split on President Barack Obama's job 
performance, with 47% approving and 48% disapproving. But a majority 
disapproves of his performance on the economy. And six in 10, including 
83% of independents and a quarter of Democrats, say they are only 
somewhat or not at all confident that Mr. Obama has the right policies 
to improve it.

The survey suggests that Democrats should expect little if any 
appreciation from voters for legislative achievements such as 
overhauling the health care and financial systems. Six in 10 Americans 
rated Congress' performance this year as below average or one of the 
worst. And the economy is dominating voters' worries. Among those who 
believe the economy will get worse over the next year, 67% want a 
GOP-led Congress.

"Several months ago I was very hopeful" said Fort Worth, Texas, 
public-schools administrator Susan Stitt, 63 years old, an independent 
who leans Republican. "But in May or so, about three months ago, I just 
started hearing more and more little things on the news that would chip 
away at my confidence."

Denis Goulet, 59 years old, a contract manager for Verizon from Calvert 
County, Md., and a Democratic-leaning independent, said the economy made 
him "feel like Charlie Brown kicking the football."

"Every time things start looking better, they start looking bad again" 
he said. Mr. Goulet said he has always voted for Democrats, but doesn't 
know how to vote this year. "I have gotten as wrapped up as anyone else 
just trying to stay afloat."

On the Afghanistan war, which had been an area of strength for the 
president since he revamped his military strategy, 68% of Americans now 
feel less confident the war will come to a successful conclusion. Just 
44% approve of the president's job on Afghanistan, down from a majority 
who approved in March, the last time the poll addressed the topic.

Voters appear evenly split on which party they hope will control 
Congress after November. But Republicans retain an advantage among those 
more likely to turn out. Among those most interested in the election, 
half favor GOP control and 39% support the Democrats. One positive 
movement for Democrats: That 11-point gap is down from 21 points in June.

Republicans, meantime, are gaining ground on a number of issues that 
have traditionally been advantages for Democrats. More Americans now 
think the GOP would do a better job on the economy—an advantage the 
party last held briefly in 2004 but has not enjoyed consistently since 
the mid-1990s. On one of the Democrats' core issues, Social Security, 
just 30% now think the party would do a better job than the GOP, 
compared to 26% who favor the Republicans. That margin was 28 points in 

"The Republicans don't have a message as to why people should vote for 
them, but it's pretty clear why you shouldn't vote for the Democrats," 
said poll respondent Tim Krsak, 33, a lawyer from Indianapolis and 
independent who has been unemployed since January. "So by default, you 
have to vote for the other guy."

Write to Peter Wallsten at peter.wallsten at wsj.com

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