RealClearPolitics has a nice feature following the major polling of the President's approval rating. Over the last two months, the President's numbers have been in free fall; in fact, Gallup has his approval rating at a mere 38% as of today. Nothing particular seems to be going on to drive those numbers further down; the debt ceiling debate ended a month ago. What is going on here?
Look at the Gallup numbers. Barack has a weekly average approval of 40%. Outside of liberals, blacks are the only demographic to be above 50% for the President with a whopping 88% supporting him. Basically, everybody in this country but African Americans have bailed on this President and overwhelming support from blacks is the only thing keeping him from crashing into the low 30's level of approval.
Independents have had it with this President.
Republicans seem somewhat happy with their options, a great difference from 2008. Really, without a very sudden and significant economic recovery occurring very shortly, I see the President being a one termer going down with the likes of Jimmy Carter. As I mentioned before, I'm not even honestly sure what the President will campaign on. "It Could Have Been Worse" is not a particularly inspiring message. ObamaCare is deeply unpopular, the Stimulus was a trainwreck, transparency has been nonexistent.
Seriously, what will he run on? In 2008, he could pick health care out of thin air and pretend it was some sort of national crisis requiring his guiding hand. In 2012, everyone would mock him for trying to do that with any other sector of the economy. The other thing he did in '08 was attack the incumbent, which is obviously not a viable strategy this time around. The cult of personality he built around himself is also gone; posters of his face with the word Hope will not be making a comeback outside of Republican ads mocking such vanity.
Most of all, conservative and in particular libertarians are going to be out for blood. We haven't been treated particularly nicely during this Administration's time in office; hell, the Vice President saw it fit to describe us as terrorists. We have a level of enthusiasm matching that of 2010 but which is otherwise not seen for a Republican candidate in a very long time. I would be shocked if the Democrats somehow threw the Republicans out of the House of Representatives, especially since the Republican hold on that House is stronger than it has been in 70+ years. In the Senate, only 10 Republicans are up for reelection and all of them are survivors of the 2006 election bloodbath. We have two people retiring, one in Texas and the other in Arizona, so I doubt we'll lose any Senate seats. That leaves 23 Democrats and 2 Democratic voting independents up for reelection. Six are retiring, leaving open races in North Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Additionally, Democrats will need to hang on to seats in Montana, Nebraska (no chance, Ben Nelson), Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Republicans only have to win half of those competitive seats in order to take the Senate.
As incredible as it seems, a mere two years after Democrats had absolute power in Washington, Republicans might rule unopposed.
This next year is certainly going to be interesting.