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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Less Adults Identifying As Democrats, More As Republican

Less that a year after Barack Obama, a Democrat, took control of the White House and having a Democratically controlled House and Senate, the number of American adults willing to identify as Democrats has gone down by almost two points and the number identifying as Republicans has risen by a point.

The Democrats still have a 2.9 percent lead but their numbers are dwindling, while Republican number are on the rise.

LA Times' Top of the Ticket:

Now, 13 months later, after a turbulent year of rancorous politics, rising war casualties in Afghanistan and unemployment now above 10%, five percent fewer Americans are calling themselves Democrats.

Hardly an enthusiastic endorsement of the record so far of the incumbent president, whose approval rating has also dropped below 50% for the first time. Approval of Obama's war handling has fallen the most, plummeting from 63% last spring to 45% this fall.

A new poll by Rasmussen Reports finds that despite -- or perhaps because of -- legislative progress on President Obama's 2009 keynote issue of healthcare reform, among other issues, this autumn, the number of adult Americans calling themselves Democrats fell by almost 2 whole points just in the month of November.

A year after hope, change and jubilation filled the party ranks, those Americans considering themselves Democrats is now only 36%.

That's the lowest percentage in 48 months.

The percentage calling themselves Republican is lower -- 33.1%. However, unlike the Democrats, that number is increasing, up from 31.9% the previous month.

This is not good news for Democrats as they head into 2010 and elections that already expected to lose them double digit House seats.

On top of that, Democrats are trying to push Obamacare through the Senate as it was pushed through the House, something Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, does not have the votes to accomplish as of yet.

Reid needs 60 votes to overcome a filibuster, meaning he needs every single Democrat as well as both Independents in the Senate.

His problem are certain Democratic Senators that are coming up for reelection in 2010 and are already facing challengers that are doing better in the polls, even before the Obamacare vote comes to pass.

Such as Arkansas Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln who is trailing behind four Republican challengers.

Looking at the data, it’s easy to understand Lincoln’s concern. Against all four Republicans, she leads by wide margins among those who favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. The senator even leads by a wide margin among those who Somewhat Oppose the legislation. But among those who Strongly Oppose the health care plan, Lincoln trails every potential Republican challenger by more than 50 percentage points.

The really bad news for Lincoln is that 56% of Arkansas voters Strongly Oppose the congressional health care plan. Just 18% Strongly Favor it.

That is but one example of the very real problems plaguing Democrats.

Another problem is the timing of Barack Obama's announcement to send an addition 30,000 U.S. Troops into Afghanistan.

It has taken the political landscape for Democrats to new levels of discontent by pitting the far left base against Obama and the politicians in the middle are those going into a very tough election year.

The Hill titles their piece "Democrats in tough races differ in reactions to Afghanistan plan":

Conventional wisdom has it that Democrats risk alienating the liberal base by supporting an increase in troops, but by opposing it they oppose the president and could, in some cases, hurt their general-election prospects.

The candidates seemed acutely aware of this conflict, but they took different approaches to it.

The title of The Politico piece has the same theme. "Surge forces Democrats to pick: Base or White House".

With his announcement of a troop increase in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama has complicated an already hazardous political landscape and introduced a highly combustible element into scores of House and Senate races.

The president’s decision forces Democratic candidates to stake uncomfortable positions that will either put them at odds with the administration or the party’s progressive base—a troubling prospect since Democratic voter turnout in 2010 is predicated on having an enthusiastic and motivated base.

But equally important, the troop buildup is already emerging as a divisive issue in a handful of Democratic primary elections while threatening to expose other Democrats to general election risk because of contradictory past statements on Afghanistan or Iraq war strategy.

Add to all that the rising unemployment rate, the massive Democratic spending in the last 8 months, the projected quadrupling of our national deficit and Democratic voter's dissatisfaction with campaign promises not kept by Barack Obama and you have a recipe for disaster in the 2010 elections.

At this rate, it is quite probable that by the time those elections roll around, more American adults with be identifying as Republicans that do as Democrats.