Democracy Corps: Public polls show dramatic and historic opportunity for Democratic action

By now, anyone who reads DailyKos is familiar with the current trends in public opinion, which I analyzed in depth for Democracy Corps in an update released today.  Bush approval is at record lows; there is broad pessimism about the direction of the country; Democrats hold huge advantages in the generic congressional measure, but largely as a result of Republican losses rather than Democratic gains.  It is important not to lose sight of just how dramatic and historically significant the current situation is:

  • Bush's approval marks are the lowest for any second-term president at this stage of his presidency aside from Nixon in the midst of the Watergate scandal
  • Congressional approval marks are among the lowest in history and comparable to the period preceding the landslide change election of 1994
  • Barely 3-in-10 Americans are satisfied with the country's current direction, with broad majorities expressing pessimism about the economy, war in Iraq, and the country's growing energy crisis
  • There is literally no issue in the recent body of public opinion research on which Americans express optimism about the country's current direction
  • Ratings of both Democrats and Republicans are at their lowest points in 50 years
It is this last point that is most important as we look to the future, particularly the mid-term elections that are now barely a year away.  The latest NBC News/Wall Sreet Journal survey shows Democrats with a 9-point advantage as the party Americans would like to see in control of Congress, but they still fail to garner the support of even 50 percent of voters.

In order to once again claim a majority, Democrats must recapture some of the independent voters - particularly white, non-college-educated voters in rural areas and red states - who have defected to the Republicans in recent elections.  Focus groups conducted by Democracy Corps among these voters highlighted the challenge facing Democrats - these voters see little or no differences between the parties on critical `kitchen table' issues such as jobs, health care, and gas prices.  As a result, no matter how disenchanted these voters become with Republicans, many of them will still vote Republican because of their views on cultural issues and defense - unless and until Democrats are seen as agents of change, offering a real alternative on the `kitchen table' issues they care about most.  The most recent polls highlight the growing concerns Americans harbor on many of these issues - notably economic growth and job creation, gas prices, spending for the war in Iraq and the lack of a clear plan, health care, record deficits, long-term energy policy, homeland security, and cleaning up the rampant corruption and cronyism in Washington.

Democrats have clearly not made their case yet on these issues, but there are some optimistic early signs that suggest they may finally be moving in the right direction.  The Pew poll compared the two parties on a series of attributes and found large Democratic advantages on two critical measures.  A majority of Americans chose Democrats as the party `concerned with the needs of people like me' (52 percent Democrats, 30 percent Republicans).  And by a 16-point margin, they see Democrats as the party that `can bring about the kind of changes the country needs' (48 percent Democrats, 32 percent Republicans).  Democrats must do far better than 48 percent on this measure by this time next year, but there are signs they are beginning to emerge as the party of change in an election that will likely be dominated by the public's desire for a new direction. -- Karl Agne

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5 Comments

Gotta get personal
Americans in 2000 clearly saw Al Gore as more competent than George W. Bush and saw Democrats as more in line with their views, although by a lesser margin.  All that git us was a small enough lead where the "moral" Republicans were able to steal the election.  

Americans in 2004 actually bought John Kerry's pitch that he was a better manager than George W. Bush.  This time Buxh some how turned out 10 million more votes than 4 years earlier despite an absolutely awful term in office.

Why?  Americans, or at least a crucual number of them, were somehow convinced that W was likeable, moral, etc. and that Gore and Kerry were aristocratic snots.

We have two ways to carve those lousy Republicans up.  First, we need to make the case that Democrats not only are right but will make a difference.  You certainly make that case.
The second thing is that we need to get personal with these bums.  And they darn sure are bums.

These people are selfish babies and crooks not the fake adults they sold themselves off as.  They are not moral or anything close to it but are immoral or even amoral snobs, liars, and evil charlatans.  Go after those damn Bible assholes big time.  They are POharisees, damn them all, not followers of Jesus, the old testament or Mohammed, Buddha or any other legitimate re;ligion.

They make us ashamed to be Americans.  That stuff at Abu Ghraib does not win anything it just earns us generations of enenies.  These are philosophies that don't work and are not American, not right.  Fire those damn psy ops monsters!  And fire their masters and monsters in power the damn Bush Republicans!

Get personal and put these monsters away fror good or at least for 20 years to life.

by David Kowalski 2005-10-21 01:12PM | 0 recs
But will the Dems take action?
The stock market crash of 1929 was a catalyst for 30 years of liberal rule.  Herbert Hoover handled the crash about as well as Bush handled Katrina, and the voters were fed up with business-first Republicanism.  But for the Democrats to stay in the White House for 20 years, it took FDR standing up and saying, "we can solve our problems, we don't have to be afraid, we can make our country better."

If the Democrats can stand up and make that simple case - not "I was against the Iraq War, but I voted for it, but I don't like it, but I'll do a better job running it", but "we can get out of these messes we're in: here's how".  If the Dems can stand up and make themselves heard, with a clear, optomistic message, saying not just, "Bush fucked up," but "we know how to turn this country around", we could see the same kind of return to liberal ideas (ie. America's core values) that we saw with the New Deal.

by schroeder 2005-10-21 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: But will the Dems take action?
No the clear message is we need to stop nominating people from north of the Mason-dixson line. No Candidate won the presidency who was from north of the mason dixson line since Kennedy. Second the party needs to make it so that everyone all over the country is heard before we have a nomainee. More or less what happened last time is Kerry was nominated by the state of Iowa which in the end didn't even vote for him.
by orin76 2005-10-21 04:07PM | 0 recs
Re: But will the Dems take action?
> No the clear message is we need to stop nominating people from north of the Mason-dixson line.

Um... yeah, that's a great message.  I hate to break it to you, but the Republicans beat you to, "Fuck You, Massachusetts" as a campaign platform.

by schroeder 2005-10-22 08:56PM | 0 recs
I cannot believe
you have the audacity to spout this rubbish.

Have you asked yourself WHY the Republicans lost is NOT garnering a Democratic gain?

BECAUSE DEMOCRATS ARE DEMOCRATS not some DLC bullshit middle of the road kill.

How can you proclaim Democrats are to be agents of change when you set out to destroy any evidence of differences between the parties.

I had held out hope that Democrats would actually "take advantage" of the GOP's downturn but as usual the DLC/NDN will once againg cast the Democratic party in the role of the "Washington Generals" to the GOP "Harlem Globetrotters"... pretending to be an oppostional party just enough to get re-elected and get more wingnut Dems into power... this is getting way too transparent.

by Parker 2005-10-24 09:10AM | 0 recs

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