Thursday, July 27, 2006

Public In A Sour Mood, 65% Believe Their Children Will Be Worse Off Than They Are

Three articles out tonight with really, really, really bad news for GOP hopes in the November midterms. First, here's MSNBC with the results from the WSJ/NBC News poll:

WASHINGTON - With congressional midterm elections less than four months away, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that candidates will be facing a public that has grown increasingly pessimistic, as nearly two-thirds don't believe life for their children's generation will be better than it has been for them, and nearly 60 percent are doubtful the Iraq war will come to a successful conclusion.

And there's more pessimism: Among those who believe the nation is headed on the wrong track, more than 80 percent say it's part of a longer-term decline.

"This is just a horrendous set of numbers," says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican Bill McInturff. The mood is "as dank and depressing as I have seen."

According to the poll, 65 percent say they feel less confident that life for their children's generation will be better than it was for them. In December 2001, the last time this question was asked, respondents — by a 49-42 percent margin — said they were confident life would be better for their children.

In addition, only 27 percent think the country is headed in the right direction, while 58 percent say they are less confident the Iraq war will come to a successful conclusion.

And among those who believe that the nation is headed on the wrong track, a whopping 81 percent believe it's part of a longer-term decline and that things won't get better for some time. Just 12 percent think the problems are short-term blips.

Next, the results from the latest NY Times/CBS News poll that show Americans increasingly suspicious of Bush's foreign policy and the direction the United States is heading in both here at home and abroad:

Americans are overwhelmingly pessimistic about the state of affairs in the Middle East, with majorities doubtful there will ever be peace between Israel and its neighbors, or that American troops will be able to leave Iraq anytime soon, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.


Over all, the poll found a strong isolationist streak in a nation clearly rattled by more than four years of war, underscoring the challenge for Mr. Bush as he tries to maintain public support for his effort to stabilize Iraq and spread democracy through the Middle East.

The concerns expressed over the direction of foreign policy also highlight some of the pitfalls facing Republicans as they head toward the November elections with national security front and center.


Mr. Bush has experienced a slight increase in his overall job approval rating since the last New York Times/CBS News poll, in May, indicating that the steady erosion in his support over the last year has leveled off and even improved by a few percentage points. Thirty-six percent of those surveyed said they approved of the way he was doing his job, up from 31 percent in May.

But with 55 percent saying they disapproved of his performance, the numbers remain far below the comfort zone for a sitting president during a tough midterm election season. In what could be another warning sign for incumbents, more than twice as many people believe the country is heading in the wrong direction than believe it is heading in the right direction. Only 35 percent of respondents said they approved of Mr. Bush’s handling of foreign policy in general, though that was up from the 27 percent in May, and a majority expressed doubt about whether the president had the respect of foreign leaders.

Finally, here's the Washington Post on how Bush's second term "comeback" has been derailed by events overseas in the Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea and what that means for his party come November:

The latest crisis in the Middle East has disrupted President Bush's plans domestically and internationally at a sensitive juncture, reopening divisions with allies abroad and jeopardizing attempts to restore public confidence at home, according to officials, analysts and diplomats.


For the president, the timing could not be much worse. In a second term marked by one setback after another, the White House was in the midst of a rebuilding effort aimed at a political comeback before November's critical midterm elections. Now the president faces the challenge of responding to events that seem to be spinning out of control again, all but sidelining his domestic agenda for the moment and complicating his effort to rally the world to stop nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.

The crisis imperils one of Bush's signature ambitions. This is a president who eschewed Middle East peacemaking of the past as futile, embarking instead on a grand plan to remake the region into a more democratic, peaceful place. A year ago, a wave of reform seemed to take hold. Yet today radicalism is on the rise, Iran is believed to be closer to nuclear weapons and Bush is sending thousands more troops to Baghdad to quell spiraling violence.

"You've got Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories aflame, you've got Iraq still aflame, and you've got the Iran issue now unresolved," said Carlos Pascual, a senior State Department official until this year. "It has hurt the U.S. internationally because it has only reinforced in everyone's mind that the U.S. was not being strategic, it was not looking ahead to how to handle the whole panoply of issues in a way that's both realistic and effective."


At home, political strategists said, Bush faces the perception that he is presiding over one brushfire after another, hindered in his efforts to advance a positive agenda at a time when Republican control of Congress appears at risk. His most prominent domestic priority of the year, a comprehensive immigration plan, already seemed stalled until after the elections. The escalation of killing in Iraq may have unraveled any chance of major U.S. troop withdrawals before the elections. And the conversation is now dominated by rockets flying in and out of southern Lebanon.

"It significantly contributes to the general sense that they don't have a formula for governing and for leading," said Steve Ricchetti, who was deputy White House chief of staff under Clinton. "There's nothing more important to a president than the public sensing that he has a vision and the ability to lead. And I think that has diminished dramatically for them and it presents an enormous political problem."

Republican candidates who are already nervous about a commander in chief with approval ratings stuck in the 30s have grown wary of the impact of the latest fighting.

"It may not only intrude in the midterm elections, it could envelop them," said V. Lance Tarrance Jr., a prominent Republican consultant. On the one hand, he said, it could give Bush a chance "to demonstrate presidential leadership," and voters are often reluctant to shift leadership in a moment of crisis. On the other hand, he said, "it could force a large-scale regional conflict that increases" the vote against incumbents "to such an extent that people worry about the country."

To echo Peter Hart, the Democratic pollster from the WSJ/NBC News poll, these are horrendous numbers for the preznit and his party. The November midterms have essentially been framed well before Labor Day. The electorate is disgrunted, depressed, worried about the future, and ready to blame all the problems on incumbents. Hart says "it's a python-like grip in terms of a negative mood...this is wrapped pretty tight." His GOP counterpart, Bill McInturff, says Republicans have an uphill fight this November even with their vaunted fundraising ability and dependable Get Out the Vote operation. According to McInturff, Republican candidates have got to start engaging their Democratic opponents now, not after labor Day, because "the national mood is too set and there is not enough time."

Before Dems celebrate the numbers and start counting their House and Senate majorities before they hatch, however, we should remember that Republicans can still rely on Diebold manipulation, voting fraud and other shenanagins this November to help them hold onto power. Speaking at a GOP fundraiser in Columbus, Ohio yesterday, Karl Rove said he's confident the GOP will hold onto its Senate, House and Governor's seats in Ohio despite the bad poll numbers and scandals plaguing the Republican Party in the state. And of course he is confident. The day he didn't get his fat ass tossed into the slammer for treason in the CIA leak case was the day he knew he'd be around to help steal the '06 elections. Let's just hope Dems put up more of a fight this time around than John Kerry did in 2004.

Still, who would have thought last year at this time that Democrats would sitting pretty in late July with a 10 point lead in voter preference in a generic Congressional ballot, the preznit would be mired under 40% approval for the better part of a year, Democrats would be out-fundraising Republicans in both the House and Senate, and nearly 70% of the country would think the nation was heading in the wrong direction? Let's face it - if Dems can't win something this year, they can't win period.

UPDATE: More bad news for Bush and the GOP. David Broder finds grave dissatisfaction with the Bush administration and the GOP leadership coming from the Taft-Goldwater-Reagan wing of the Republican Party and wonders how much this dissatisfaction will hurt Republicans in the midterms. Already struggling with an unpopular war and an uncertain economy, Broder notes, the last thing the GOP needs is the disaffection they are currently experiencing within their own ranks.

What i want to know is who the hell those 27% of folks who think we're on the right track are.

I play fiddle in a NY bluegrass band. The banjo player is a right-wing state trooper, studying to be a preacher. He was very supportive of Bush in 04, on the so-called "values" issues.

The other day he told me both he and whis wife regretted voting for Bush, and that he now believed Bush had no concern for the middle class. If he reflects other conservative Christian voices, nothing is gonna help the GOP in 06.
I didn't know you played fiddle in a bluegrass band - that's really cool.

It's nice to hear that this Bush voter in your band is disgusted by Bush and the Republicans, realizes they have no concern for the middle class, and won't support thhem this time around. I hope there's lots more of those voters come November. The GOP plan is to go so negative on Democratic candidates in tight districts so that people like your bandmate and his wife who are disgusted by the GOP and the preznit right now are constantly reminded that the alternative is "tax-and-spend," "cut-and-run," "defeatist" amnd immoral on social issues like gay marriage, gay adoption, stem cell research, abortion, etc. Let's see if you're friends can hold up after a barrage like that and still vote against the GOP. That will be the test for this eelction, perhaps more so than the Diebold stealing (which will surely happen, but cannot happen in EVERY district.)
Clinton was right, it is economics. The average voter wouldn't know hay from a horses foot when it comes to economics, but they know when they are hurting.

BTW: I just realaised I need to refresh your page when I visit.
I was wondering why updates came in large blocks :)
It's the war and it's economics and I think they're connected. The war has helped drive gas prices up, gas prices have eaten away whatever modest wage gains people have made, the nation's in debt, many people are in debt, and all just feels like it's going to hell in a handbasket. And certainly the poll numbers in the recent Gallup, ARG, WSJ/NBC News and CBS News/NY Times polls back that up.
Good point about the "real Republicans".

I wonder what my grandfather would have thought of Bush.

My father's an old Goldwater conservative and he despises the Bush admin, Tom Delay, Hastert, Boehner, et al. He says he thinks Barry would despise them too. I tend to agree. I guess so does John Dean since he's written a book about it.
It's a NJ band, not NY. Sorry.

As for "tax and spend," I hardly see how they can make that argument with the deficit and national debt where the GOP has led it.

It's worse than any democratic administration ever, or any GOP administration either. Both Reagan and King George I took steps to correct budget problems.
In an NPR report about the 50 "battleground districts," one Republican voter actually said "We can't allow those Democrats to get power because they'll just tax and spend us into bankruptcy." The same guy goes on to say that while the Bush tax cuts hadn't helped him any, he thought they had helped the country and that's why he wanted to see them made permanent.

And there, nyc, is the kind of voter who makes me want to pull my hair out - a guy who didn't benefit from the steal from the working and middle class and give to the rich policies who nonetheless plans to vote for the guys who are screwing him.
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