Political Disenchantment Affects 2012 GOP Hopefuls

Bumped. -N

Nation-wide discontentment with politics and politicians isn’t unique Democrats. Populists and workers are ticked at both parties. According to PPP, only four of the 38 Senators they’ve polled on have approval ratings above 50%.

To be fair, three of those four are Republicans, and all six of the Senators with disapprovals above 50% are Democrats. All six, however, are tainted or conservative Democrats, expressing the progressive base’s frustration with inaction as much as the nation’s frustration with politics.

I don’t want to read too much into this and say that the main problem is that Democrats aren’t progressive enough. That would be too much like the Republicans who said Obama only won because the Republican Party wasn’t conservative enough. It should be noted, though, that save John Thune, 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls are no more shielded from this discontent than are Democrats. This really is a political backlash, not a partisan backlash. For example, according to Politico, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s approval rating is at an all-time low.

An analysis of over 70 public polls — 50 of which came from SurveUSA — since Pawlenty took office more than seven years ago conducted by the University of Minnesota shows that the governor's 42 percent approval rating in a recent poll of 500 Minnesotans is his low point.

The poll was conducted March 1-3 and was sponsored by the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis. Pawlenty's previous low came in July 2005, when 43 percent of Minnesotan's approved of his performance as governor.

Pawlenty might be the only 2012 hopeful at an all-time low, but while he may be the only one below the barrel’s bottom, there are still several at the bottom. His nosedive comes on the heels of Mitt Romney losing the CPAC straw poll for the first time since 2005. Mike Huckabee’s chances were severely damaged when a criminal whose sentence he commuted as Governor killed several Seattle police officers. And we’re all familiar with polls that show even a majority of Republicans don’t consider qualified for the job. Unfortunately I can’t find current data on Haley Barbour or Mitch Daniels.

There’s no predicting a presidential race almost three years out. I’m not going to say that this means we’re more likely to see a nominee Thune than a nominee Pawlenty. What I will say is that anyone who thinks something more than three weeks away is ever a sealed deal in politics, including the Democrats’ fate in 2010 and 2012, stayed too long at a Wonderland 3D debut party.

Tags: Tim Pawlenty, 2012, polls, Senate approval ratings (all tags)




Someone wrote somewhere that starting in 2002, we are in the midst of a decade long wave election, going both ways, but usually against the establishment.

People intuitively know that we are sinking our own boat and desperately looking for a captain of the ship that will throw overboard the ones doing the wrecking.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-08 06:57PM | 0 recs
I dunno

I'd like to see someone take a systematic look at how the poll numbers from this year measure up against other years.

It seems like we're always hearing about anti-incumbent sentiment, and yet at the end of the day, incumbents continue to win in large numbers.  And I don't know how many genuine "anti-incumbent" elections we've had in this country where incumbents of BOTH parties get voted out in large numbers.

People always say they're dissatisfied with Congress in a big way, so I"m going to need more before I agree that this year's sentiment is in any way extraordinary.

by Steve M 2010-03-08 09:30PM | 0 recs
RE: I dunno

My buddy Harry, who blogs for Pollster, crunching a paper from my former thesis advisor says even when Rasmussen and GOP pollsters are removed, Dems have a 1.2% generic ballot lead, which "is still the most favorable polling result for the Republicans with a Democratic President since 1946." Kind of a a baseball stat there, but whatever, numbers are numbers. It's the closest thing I've seen to what you're asking for.

People do always say they're dissatisfied with Congress, but we've got a system gerry-rigged to make their dissatisfaction irrelevant. Until either a) the system is changed or b) ordinary people get involved with primaries, we're not going to see a whole heckuva lot of electoral change, at least not all at once. Some years, though, will be more dramatic than others.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-03-08 09:47PM | 0 recs
I dont understand why people are suddenly back in love with Republicans

Even in 1978 at this point, when Carter had approval ratings very similiar to Obama's, Democrats held a 16 point lead in the generic ballot.  I guess swing voters are just getting stupider and stupider. 

by Kent 2010-03-08 10:46PM | 0 recs
RE: I dont understand why people are suddenly back in love with Republicans

It was a different time... The "Reagan Dems" hadn't yet appeared.  We're still tainted by Reagan 30 years later.

It certianly is disturbing to think that people are picking the GOP, especially since their approval is in the toilet as well, along with the memory of how they bankrupted our country.

by LordMike 2010-03-09 02:46AM | 0 recs
You have to hand it to Reagan

He permenantly moved the political environment in favor of Republicans.  He passed huge tax cuts, deregulated the oil companies, and repealed the Fairness Doctrine.  He was a transformative President.  Obama will not be a transformative President, just like Nixon, Eisenhower, and Clinton.  Obama will be lumped right in with the George W. Bush years if he cant pass healthcare and get GDP growing at a consistant rate of 5% over the next 18 months. 

by Kent 2010-03-09 04:27AM | 0 recs
RE: You have to hand it to Reagan

Really those are pretty small accomplishments. By that list even Bush accomplished more than R. So don't get worked up about it.

by vecky 2010-03-10 12:50AM | 0 recs
RE: I dunno

I'm talking about the claims that there is some kind of "anti-incumbent" thing going on, as opposed to a backlash against the party in power overall.

by Steve M 2010-03-09 01:09AM | 0 recs
RE: I dunno

I know, and I'm saying that even the closest number analysis I've seen doesn't quite hit the spot, and that it's really tough to throw out incumbents of either party - in power or not - without getting involved in primaries or changing the system, two things our unengaged electorate doesn't seem to care to learn about doing.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-03-09 02:11AM | 0 recs

Over 60% of Minnesotans don't think TPaw should run for President. The people who know him best know he is a disaster.

by alectimmerman 2010-03-08 10:02PM | 0 recs
Puzzling That Thune

has escaped this.  All he ever does is hover behind McConnell and Kyl, looking glum and concerned.

That the 2012 Republican prospects are such losers is the only thing giving me some hope in these dark days.


by Bob H 2010-03-09 10:11AM | 0 recs
RE: Puzzling That Thune

Right, the generic's look bad, and Obama's re-elects look bad, but even the Tea Party folks can't get behind the Republicans in name only. I still look for a fractured primary on their behalf, unless Romney runs away with it.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-03-15 09:24AM | 0 recs


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