One of the things we constantly hear from the left is the public is already fed up with the obstructionist House and that the possibility exists Democrats may be able to reverse 2010 and take it back in 2012.
Well then explain NY-9, the congressional seat in a very blue district in New York city. Disgraced Democrat Anthony Weiner resigned and what should have been an almost rubber stamp Democrat win has suddenly shifted in favor of the Republican challenger.
Well part of it is those troublesome independents again. They refuse to listen to the left’s version of conventional wisdom. But there’s also a good amount of crossover voting:
Turner’s winning in a heavily Democratic district for two reasons: a huge lead with independents and a large amount of crossover support. He’s ahead by 32 points at 58-26 with voters unaffiliated with either major party. And he’s winning 29% of the Democratic vote, holding Weprin under 60% with voters of his own party, while losing just 10% of Republican partisans.
We’ve been documenting the flight of independents from the Obama (and Democratic) agenda for a couple years now. Nothing really new there. But in a district as heavily Democratic as NY-9, it takes more than capturing the independent vote if you’re a Republican. You have to get some pretty significant crossover votes as well.
So what’s causing this defection by some Democrats there? Well, I’ve documented any number of stories saying that the bloom is off the Obama rose. We had Richard Cohen in the Hamptons visiting with NYC’s liberal elite and finding very little if any support for President Obama. We have Democrat Pete DeFazio saying the “enthusiasm” for Obama is gone. Is NY-9 a referendum on the President?
If Turner wins on Tuesday it will be largely due to the incredible unpopularity of Barack Obama dragging his party down in the district. Obama won 55% there in 2008 but now has a staggeringly bad 31% approval rating, with 56% of voters disapproving of him. It’s a given that Republicans don’t like him but more shocking are his 16% approval rating with independents and the fact that he’s below 50% even with Democrats at 46% approving and 38% disapproving.
That’s got to be part of it. Turner is also a strong candidate and Weprin, well, not so much. But still, this is a reliably Democratic district, so that to has to be remembered. Given a strong opinion of national leadership, it should be no real chore to overcome a GOP candidate there. But that’s not the apparent case. Here’s the warning sign:
One final note on the poll and what perhaps should concern Democrats most of all. 55% of voters in the district report having voted for Obama in 2008, which is the actual percentage of the vote he got in the district. Last year a lot of the races Democrats lost were because their voters didn’t show up and the electorate was far more conservative than for a Presidential year. When you lose that way you can say, well, our voters will come back out in 2012 and we’ll be fine. But there is no enthusiasm gap here. Obama voters are showing up in the same numbers they did in 2008. But only 65% of them are voting Democratic. That’s a really big cause for concern.
It is indeed a big cause for concern if that’s a pattern that repeats across the nation. White it is possible that the Democrat may end up winning in NY-9 because crossover trend hasn’t yet solidified, the indicators contained in the PPP poll show contain some very disturbing news for Democrats, win or not.