Indies say Dem leadership too extreme
As we near the mid-term elections and people start paying attention (and early voting begins), we’re naturally seeing some tightening of the races. However, one thing that hasn’t been tightening, per many polls, is independents going for the Democrats.
Anyone who has watched elections over the years knows full well that indies are the swing vote that, for the most part, determine the outcome of most elections. Some refer to them as the mushy middle. Others see them as voters truly independent of the 2 party system and not satisfied with either. And during each election, they pick the side which best represents the direction they’d prefer to see the country go on the often mistaken assumption that the winner will head that way.
All that being said, keep in mind as you hear stories about tightening races that one thing that hasn’t been tightening is the Democratic hold on independent voters – at least not in this election cycle. Why?
Remember, this is a Congressional election and as much as the GOP might like it to be a referendum on Obama (and to some degree it will be) it’s mostly about the Congress we have. Indies aren’t very enamored with it or its leadership (Nancy Pelosi is at 29% and Harry Reid is lower). A new poll makes the point:
The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll found that 61 percent of likely independent voters in 10 battleground House districts — a critical swing demographic — think the leadership under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is more liberal than they are.
“That’s a very significant finding that tells you where independents are likely to go,” said Mark Penn, president of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the poll. “In terms of independents, Reid and Pelosi are viewed as out of step.”
And that feeling is likely to effect the independent vote, because it is strictly a numbers game that keeps the leadership in place. Change the numbers, i.e. vote for the other party’s candidate, and if the change is large enough, you change the leadership. Pelosi’s the most likely to lose her leadership job (and, rumor has it that even if Dems somehow hold on to the House, she may not be Speaker), but if Reid manages a win in Nevada, his power in the Senate may be neutralized by GOP gains in that chamber.
I got a bit of a chuckle with this quote:
“The inability to define Boehner and McConnell as out of touch with mainstream values was a strategic failure of the Democrats in the election,” said Simon Rosenberg, a veteran of the 1992 Clinton war room and president of NDN, a center-left think tank and advocacy group.
“The Democrats have done a bad job this election cycle defining the Republican Party as out of touch with American values,” he said.
It is hard to define the other side as “out of touch with American values” when the Democrats were proving every day and in every way how out of touch they were. The GOP does indeed have it’s ‘out of touch’ problems, but they’re insignificant in comparison (at least at the moment) to the Democrats.
Jim Kessler, vice president for policy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank, said many Democrats have played into the Republican strategy by attacking business.
“A lot of the Democrats are resorting to economic populism, and the polling shows that voters aren’t buying it,” he said. “ ‘Corporate America’ is a Washington term. Outside Washington, that’s business and the people who employ you.”
The anti-business, government union party – is that really how the Democrats want to be identified? Is it any wonder independents are deserting them in droves?