The race to succeed Anthony Weiner in New York’s heavily Democratic Ninth Congressional District is proving competitive, and the New York Times is surprised:
[T]he race has become something far more unsettling to Democrats: a referendum on the president and his party that is highlighting the surprisingly raw emotions of the electorate.
National Democrats, alarmed by a poll that showed the contest far closer than anticipated, are privately fretting that even a close outcome in a working-class swath of Brooklyn and Queens may foreshadow broader troubles for the party in 2012. …
“The issue defining this race,” said Robert Zimmerman, a member of the Democratic National Committee from New York, “is the confidence that the electorate has in this district about the national Democratic agenda.”
It is probably not coincidental that the same people who are forever surprised by the latest bad economic news are likewise surprised to learn that Barack Obama is widely considered to be a lousy president.