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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Referendum? Hardly!

I have no doubt that FoxNews and all the right-wing radio loudmouths will spend most of Wednesday claiming the Republican wins in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races on Tuesday were referendums against the "failed policies" of Democratic President Barack Obama.


Chris Christie won in New Jersey because the incumbent, Democrat John Corzine, had grown unpopular in a state wracked with economic problems and political corruption (neither of which are likely to disappear simply because the governor's office is changing hands); and Bob McDonnell beat Democrat R. Creigh Deeds in Virginia because the state long has leaned to the right and simply reverted to its old ways a year after favoring Obama.

And what Fox and the rightie radio guys surely won't spend much time talking about on Wednesday is the fact that Democrat Bill Owens won the vacant House seat in New York's 23rd Congressional District - a seat that's been in Republican hands for 150 years.

If there is to be a referendum for or against Obama's policies, it will be in the 2010 House and Senate elections - the so-called "mid-terms." Anyone who tells you a few scattered races in 2009 are an accurate gauge of the nation's mood is, quite simply, full of it.



Blogger Tin Star said...

Is that a short memory of yours or did you just forget what you wrote back on November 5, 2008?

You blamed John McCain for losing VIRGINIA and opined that the damage done by McCain might not be fixed in ONE election cycle.

Now ONE YEAR LATER you claim that the election of a Republican in VIRGINIA in 2009 could not possibly have had anything to do with the administration of Obama?

It is possible that you are correct, EXCEPT it is interesting that the two candidates had run against each other previously and basically tied --- this time the Republican won by a wide margin.

It is possible that you are correct, EXCEPT to the extent that the exit polls in Virginia showed that 2008 Obama supporters stayed away, EXCEPT that the economy and higher taxes were the voters issues of concern and EXCEPT that moderate voters don't want a swing to bigger governmental programs - then this election was more than a bit about the policies and politics of Obama.

And, New Jersey? Doesn't anyone but Corzine should alot like last year's anyone but Bush?

This is a portion what you said last year:

"And by the time this race entered the home stretch, there was nothing McCain could do to repair the damage. He was destined for an epic loss, and an epic loss was what he suffered - not only getting clobbered in the election, but, in the process, giving away such long-reliable "red" states as Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, New Mexico and, at this writing, possibly North Carolina.

Who knows if those states will revert to voting Republican at any time in the near future. The damage done in these past few months may be too great to repair in one election cycle - especially if Obama turns out to be a popular president".

One year out, Obama's popularity is tanking.

It's possible as we go forward that we'll realize that last year was not a "normal" political year and that this year was not as well.

In other words, there is likely more that we don't know about the political mood of this country than what we do.

Stay tuned, I guess and be careful of premature claims of victory!


November 7, 2009 at 12:20 PM 
Blogger Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

Obama's popularity is tanking? Hardly.
Gallup has had his job approval rating at a steady 50-55 percent for more than three months.
I know that guys like Hannity, Beck and Limbaugh are trying to convince the masses that Obama is becoming less popular by the day, but it simply isn't true. (Even Fox's latest poll has him at 50 percent.)
Also worth noting is that exit polls in both Va. and N.J. found that 60 percent of voters said their feelings toward Obama didn't influence their votes this year. And of those who said Obama WAS a factor, half said they favored his policies.

November 14, 2009 at 3:24 PM 
Blogger Tin Star said...

Yup, the snapshot you cite is consistent with the average of polls put together at Real Clear Politics (RCP).

However, the same snapshot for Obama showed a 63% approval to 20% disapproval rating on January 27.

Thus, the trend line is a downward slopping line to the most recent snapshot average on RCP which showed a 52% approval to 43% disapproval rating on November 12.

The recent Rasmussen poll has a basic tie at 50% approval to 49% disapproval.

The obviously tanking in approval ratings is in the Rasmussen poll among those whom "STRONGLY" approve or disapprove.

In that poll those who "Strongly disapprove" lead those who "Strongly approve" by ten points.

Those indicating "Strongly approve" went negative over the summer and continue to decline. Thus the term "tanking."

Finally, where Obama is really in trouble is with so-called independent voters, which are those who do not identify with either party. Rasmussen labels them "non-affiliated."

Among "non-affiliated" voters, according to Rasmussen, only 20%"Strongly approve" yet 47% "strongly disapprove."

This is a big part of the snapshot that took place on November 3rd with the elections in Virginia, New Jersey and upstate NY.

It is a trend that will likely continue with the independent voters and has to have the democrats worried (especially those in swing districts).

Obama's political coattails are short within ten months of his election and should his approval rating tip negative (which is likely given he's only at 52% today) next year's mid-term election will be a tipping point for him politically.

A one-term presidency would then be in play.

Also, my "hunch" is that your blog post would have been significantly different had the results on election day been different.

It probably didn't feel good having to put the drums away - since there wasn't any reason to beat them. Even Obama hid out on election night - first time in two years or more he didn't appear on TV over something or another.

November 15, 2009 at 1:08 PM 
Blogger Jeremy Schiffres, City Editor said...

You're actually citing a Jan. 27 poll to demonstrate that Obama's numbers are much lower now? C'mon! EVERY president has great numbers during his first week in office. You can't start looking for realistic trends until sometime later in the first year. And as I noted, Obama's approval rating has been virtually unchanged in the neighborhood of 53% for more than three months now.
And by the way, G.W. Bush was at or just below 50% in most major polls on the day he won his second term in 2004. Funny thing, that electoral college ...

November 18, 2009 at 1:18 AM 

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