Democrat overreach spells election angst

Politico:

Democrats giddy with possibilities only six months ago now confront a perilous 2010 landscape signaled by troublesome signs of President Barack Obama’s political mortality, the plunging popularity of many governors and rising disquiet among many vulnerable House Democrats.

The issue advantage has shifted as well, with Democrats facing the brunt of criticism about the pace of stimulus package spending, anxiety over rising unemployment rates and widespread uneasiness over the twin pillars of Obama’s legislative agenda: his cap-and-trade approach to climate change and the emerging health care bill.

Bolstered by historical trends that work in the GOP’s favor — midterm elections are typically hostile to the party in power — and the prospect of the first election in a decade without former President George W. Bush either on the ballot or in office, Republicans find themselves on the offensive for the first time since 2004.

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“There’s a sense building among Republicans that 2010 is going to be a far better political environment than 2008 or 2006,” said GOP pollster Whit Ayres. “Part of that is because we have a Democratic president and a Democratic-controlled Senate and House that are promoting fiscally dangerous policies for the future of the country. Part of it is we don’t have the burden of Iraq as we did in 2006 and don’t have the economy on the Republicans’ watch as we had in 2008.”

In one sign of the reconfigured landscape, Republican candidates lead in the polls in this fall’s closely watched gubernatorial elections — in New Jersey and Virginia. In New Jersey, where first-term Democrat Gov. Jon Corzine trails his challenger by double digits, a far-reaching corruption investigation has led to the resignation of one member of Corzine’s Cabinet and insider speculation about whether Corzine should be replaced on the ticket in November by a more viable Democratic nominee.

Corzine, who has shown no indication he’s willing or interested in stepping down, isn’t the only Democratic governor buffeted by the political winds. A handful of Democrats whose seats are up for election in 2010, including Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, have recently seen their approval ratings plummet below 40 percent — dangerous territory for an incumbent.

In New York, Gov. David Paterson faces similarly daunting numbers, and other first-term Democratic governors from Ohio to Iowa to Colorado have also seen their approval ratings move in the wrong direction. In Pennsylvania, a recent Quinnipiac University poll reported Gov. Ed Rendell with the lowest approval rating of his two terms in office.

“What’s hurting the Democrats badly is that people are afraid of the deficit and spending. They don’t see signs of economic growth, and people are worried,” said GOP pollster John McLaughlin. “If you look at the economy right now, voters gave the Democrats benefit of the doubt, they thought the stimulus would work, employment would recede — and they’re finding out now it’s not the case.”

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There is more. This is one of the reasons the Blue Dogs deal with the liberals is dangerous for them and other Democrats. With the health care bill the Democrats have put themselves in the position of being the loser whether they get it passed or not.

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