POLL: 2014 LOOKS WORSE FOR DEMS THAN 2010
It’s never been worse for President Obama in the Washington Post/ABC News poll, which finds him at a 41 percent job approval rating, about 13 points below his standing in the poll at this time in 2010, the year when his party got creamed in midterm elections. We’ve talked about the tsunami alert for Democrats this fall, but the sirens are getting too loud even for partisans and wishful thinkers on the left to ignore. There is no common measure so predictive of a party’s performance in congressional races than the job approval rating of a president of the same party. And Obama is looking increasingly like a toxic asset for Democrats desperate to cling to a Senate majority.
[Matters foreign and domestic – WaPo: “Just 42 percent approve of [President Obama’s] handling of the economy, 37 percent approve of how he is handling the implementation of [ObamaCare] and 34 percent approve of his handling of the situation involving Ukraine and Russia.”]
Out of pocket – The Washington Post/ABC News poll was heralded by Democrats last month when it showed opposition to ObamaCare softening and the nation evenly divided on the law. That has evaporated. Support for the law dropped 5 points, while opposition remained firm. Why? Fifty-eight percent of respondents said ObamaCare is causing overall health costs in the country costs to rise, but a worse harbinger for Democrats this fall: 47 percent of respondents said the law will increase their own health costs, while just 8 percent said they would pay less because of the law. The Post has it right in describing last month’s results: “That finding was more positive for the administration than most other polls at the time. Democrats saw it as a possible leading indicator of a shift in public opinion, but that has not materialized.”
Any Questions? – Reuters: “Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Barack Obama‘s nominee for U.S. health secretary, will appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee on May 8 for the first of two confirmation hearings, a committee official said on Monday.”
Killer stat – Even as the poll shows voters agreeing with Democrats on key issues like increasing the minimum wage and even the overall subject of health care, one statistic explains why the majority party may be in even worse trouble than 2010, and it’s all about Obama: “Registered voters by 53-39% say they’d rather see the Republicans in control of Congress as a counterbalance to Obama’s policies than a Democratic-led Congress to help support him.” The main aim of voters would appear to be to block the president’s agenda, which is kind of the GOP’s whole jam these days.
[‘Not working as planned’ – In a new poll from the pro-ObamaCare Kaiser Family Foundation, 43 percent of respondents were able to correctly identify, when prompted, that “about 8 million” people signed up for ObamaCare. But when asked how the implementation of the law, 57 percent of voters said “it’s clear the law is not working as planned,” while 38 percent said “now the law is basically working as intended.”]
Predictive elements – Polls like this matter because they may be predictive, but are also just as important for how they can sap political parties of the ability to raise money and organize. If Democrats believe that the Senate is a lost cause, it would be much more appealing to focus on moving Hillary Clinton farther left ahead of 2016 or even funding a liberal mayor’s campaign than it would be to shove money at a red-state Democrat whose race may be a lost cause. Or consider this from the Harvard Institute of Politics survey of Millennial voters out this morning: “…less than one-in-four (23%) young Americans say they will ‘definitely be voting’ in November, a sharp drop of 11 percentage points from five months ago (34%). Among the most likely voters, the poll also finds traditional Republican constituencies showing more enthusiasm than Democratic ones for participating in the upcoming midterms, with 44 percent of 2012 Mitt Romney voters saying they will definitely be voting – a statistically significant difference compared to the 35 percent of 2012 Barack Obama voters saying the same.”
Baier Tracks: Pressure’s on… – “This far out from an election there is a tendency to over read the importance of one poll or another in the grand political mosaic that we all try to decipher every week. But… A recent spate of polls culminating with the Washington Post/ABC News poll out this morning suggests Democrats have a lot to fear in six months. As President Obama’s approval hits a new low for the poll, 53 percent of the registered voters polled thought it would be a good thing if Republicans controlled all of Congress to counterbalance the administration. Only 37 percent approved of his handling of the health law and even fewer (34 percent) approve of his handle of the Ukraine crisis. As more polls show similar bad news for Democrats, we may soon see what Fox News First has been telegraphing for some time: more and more vulnerable red-state Democrats will feel compelled to make a louder stand against the administration on one thing or another. Reporters should get ready for a boatload of press releases from Democrats looking to change the subject. That’s what voters are already getting every day in the form of campaign ads.” – Bret Baier.
KERRY SAYS HE’S SORRY FOR ISRAEL ‘APARTHEID’ CLAIM
Daily Beast: “[Secretary of State] John Kerry apologized Monday for warning last week that the lack of a two-state solution in the Middle East could lead to Israel becoming an ‘apartheid state.’ Kerry’s remarks, made in a closed door meeting of the Trilateral Commission and first reported by The Daily Beast Sunday night, provoked strong reactions from across the political spectrum. In a statement issued Monday evening, Kerry defended his record as a supporter of Israel but also said, ‘If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution.’”
Kelly File: Cruz says Kerry comments will fuel anti-Semitism – “You can be certain the words of John Kerry will get repeated by anti-Semites throughout the world, will be repeated in Europe, will be repeated by the nation of Iran. And they will say, ‘This isn’t us saying it’s apartheid. This is the U.S. Secretary of State.’ Words have meaning, and this language undermines a critical ally…” – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on “The Kelly File.”
Kerry to fly with a kettle of hawks – Kerry will address the Atlantic Council’s annual conference today. Also on hand will be Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Robert Menendez, D- N.J., and Sen. Chris Murphy, D- Conn.
[A new Pew poll: “…The public supports increased U.S. economic and diplomatic sanctions [against Russia] by a [17-point] margin. But by roughly two-to-one (62% to 30%), Americans oppose sending arms and military supplies to the Ukrainian government.”]
WITH YOUR SECOND CUP OF COFFEE…
On this day in 1992, Los Angeles erupted in riots after a jury acquitted several police officers charged with beating Rodney King. The violence and looting that ensued led to 55 deaths and nearly 2,000 injuries. King died in his swimming pool two years ago at age 47. His death, found to be an accidental drowning, came shortly after he’d published a memoir that detailed his struggles to find long-term work. The Los Angeles Times has more on where some of the key figures are now. The anniversary adds extra freight to a scheduled press conference today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver regarding racist remarks allegedly made by LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Real Clear Politics Averages
Obama Job Approval: Approve – 43 percent//Disapprove – 52.6 percent Direction of Country: Right Direction – 28.5 percent//Wrong Track – 62.7 percent
Generic Congressional Ballot: Democrats – 42.4 percent// Republicans 41.6 percent