Democrats’ Woes Continue to Mount

For Democrats, the bad news keeps on coming. Today, it’s the CNN/ORC poll that shows Republicans with a substantial lead in generic congressional preference:

Two months ago, Democrats held a 50%-42% advantage among registered voters in a generic ballot, which asked respondents to choose between a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district without identifying the candidates. …

But the Democratic lead evaporated, and a CNN poll a month ago indicated the GOP holding a 49%-47% lead. The new survey, conducted in mid-December, indicates Republicans with a 49%-44% edge over the Democrats.

CNN also notes that “President Barack Obama may be dragging down Democratic congressional candidates.” I should think so: “55% of registered voters say that they are more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who opposes the President than one who supports him….”

Most of the Democrats’ current collapse relates to Obamacare, of course. The frightening reality for Democrats is that the Obamacare debacle is only beginning to unfold, and there is no obvious way for Democrats to extricate themselves. Note how delicately CNN characterizes the Dems’ Obamacare problem:

The 13-point swing over the past two months follows a political uproar over Obamacare, which included the botched rollout of and controversy over the possiblity of insurance policy cancelations due primarily to the new health law.

The “possibility of cancelations”? Haven’t millions of Americans already seen their health insurance canceled due to Obamacare, and haven’t millions more seen cost increases? By next November, Democratic Party news outlets won’t be able to get away with discreet references to the “possibility” that millions of Americans have been directly damaged by Obamacare.

CNN notes that generic preference polls aren’t necessarily reliable indicators of election results, but the example they offer won’t give much comfort to Democrats:

“There is just under a year to go before any votes are actually cast and the ‘generic ballot’ question is not necessarily a good predictor of the actual outcome of 435 separate elections,” [CNN Polling Director Keating] Holland cautioned.

“A year before the 2010 midterms, for example, the Democrats held a 6-point lead on the generic ballot but the GOP wound up regaining control of the House in that election cycle, thanks to an historic 63-seat pickup,” he added.

Heh. We can only hope that the same math holds next year. In the long run, the most important indicator in today’s poll may be its measurement of partisan enthusiasm:

[T]he 2014 midterm elections are shaping up to be a low-turnout event, with only three in 10 registered voters extremely or very enthusiastic about voting next year. …

Democratic voters seem particularly unenthusiastic about voting, and that is likely to benefit the GOP. Thirty-six percent of Republicans say they’re extremely or very enthusiastic about voting. That number drops to 22% among Democrats.

We know how Democratic Party leaders will respond to those numbers: knowing that they are doomed if liberal turnout is low, they will go over the top on every possible occasion between now and November, trying to whip their troops into a frenzy of hatred for Republicans. We have seen that already, and the strategy will only intensify as the election draws closer. Will it work? History says that it will, to some degree. But Obamacare will remain an awfully big elephant from which to try to distract voters.

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