Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Obama’s Popularity Tanks –along with Congress

I read poll results all the time. I don’t have any choice in the matter because everyone seems to be constantly quoting one to support their position. The problem, of course, is that they are easily skewed by the questions and the way the questions are asked. The result is that you can almost always find a poll to back up your point of view –and if there isn’t, you can commission one which will frame the questions to get the results you want.

Fortunately, there are a few pollsters that take their jobs seriously and try not to allow their political views to influence the results. One such poll came out this week and the results were not good –for anyone. When elected in 2008, President Obama took New York with 63% of the vote. In June he still had a healthy 57% approval to 38% disapproval among New York’s liberal leaning voters. This last poll, however, showed he had dropped to 45% approval vs. 49% disapproval, a surprisingly sharp downturn for a President who got $1 out of every $20 for his election campaign from New Yorkers.

But Republicans should not celebrate to much yet. The same poll still showed he’d win against a “generic Republican candidate” by 49% to 34% if the elections were held today. The reason is both simple and obvious. The American people on the whole are fed up with Washington politics. They elect Presidents, Senators and Congressmen to run the country and get things done. What we have been seeing for at least the past two decades is an ever increasing partisan polarization, unwillingness to compromise and a lack of accomplishment. 2 election cycles ago the Congress earned the nickname “The Do Nothing Congress” because they failed to accomplish any significant legislation. Despite the voters first supporting Democrats and then Republicans in an effort to change Washington –it has gotten worse. And the divide between the ideologies on the right and left have gotten even further apart. The Republicans were so upset about being manhandled and ignored when the Democrats shoved ObamaCare down their throats that they have dug in their heals and now refuse to budge an inch on “core values”. The result is a gridlock that is unlikely to resolve itself anytime soon.

The Republicans hope to take back the White House, get a majority in the Senate and a super majority in Congress after the next election. Good Luck with that. While there was a time when this actually sounded as though it might happen, the handling of the economy by everyone in Washington has made those hopes a distant memory.

One of two things needs to happen in order to get Congress and the Administration working effectively again. One side needs to win strong enough to control both houses in Congress and the White House –or we need to elect people that are willing to do a little ‘give and take’ to make progress. I do not see either of those things happening in 2012. I think the Democrats will put up candidates who support the liberal agenda and Republicans, dominated by the Tea Party, will put up candidates from the far right. The voting public will split and we will have a mix very similar to what we have now.

OK, before you accuse me of being full of doom and gloom, I also believe things will change. We are Americans and in the end that will make the difference. Despite all our bitter partisan quibbling, when a crisis threatens we roll up our sleeves and work together to get through it. In the end, public outrage at the problems facing the nation will force even the most widely divided ideological camps to do enough horse trading to fix the problems. It won’t be pretty, it won’t be easy and it won’t happen tomorrow –but I truly believe it will happen. My advice is to buy some earplugs, stock up on tranquillizers (rum works for me) and just hold on…..

Live Long and Prosper...

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