News / USA

Anti-Incumbent Winds Blowing in Advance of 2010 Elections

Multimedia

Audio

2010 is a congressional election year in the United States, and already there are plenty of political storm clouds on the horizon for President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress.

Recent public opinion polls tell a story of increasing voter frustration with Washington that is likely to help opposition Republicans and hurt Democrats in November.

In the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll, President Obama's approval rating was at 50 percent.  But nearly a-third of respondents said they almost never trust the government, reflecting voter anger and frustration that will likely be taken out on incumbent members of Congress in November, especially Democrats who hold majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

Political climate

Democratic political strategist James Carville told ABC's Good Morning America that Democrats need to find a way to mobilize their supporters in a hurry if they are to match the intensity of Republican voters in November.

"And the Democrats need a strategy to re-energize their voters," he said. "This finding is very consistent and very true with other things that I have seen."

But some Republican incumbents have already run into trouble this year, thanks in large part to grassroots conservative activists operating under the banner of the so-called Tea Party movement.

Utah Senator Bob Bennett was denied in his bid for a fourth term recently when Tea Party supporters turned against him at a Republican nominating convention, largely because he supported a bank bailout in 2008 put forward by then President George W. Bush.

"The political atmosphere, obviously, has been toxic and it is very clear that some of the votes that I have cast have added to the toxic environment," he said. "Looking back on them with one or two very minor exceptions, I wouldn't have cast any of them any differently even if I had known at the time they were going to cost me my career."

Mike Lee is one of two Republicans who will take part in a primary in June in the race for Bennett's seat.  He says Utah conservatives were looking for change.

"I think it is a signal that Utahans in particular and Americans in general are ready for a new generation of leaders, for men and women who believe that the federal government can't be all things to all people and that is has gotten too big and too expensive," he said.

Tea Party movement

Scot Faulkner is a veteran Republican activist who worked in the Reagan administration and for Republicans in Congress.  He says the Tea Party movement has brought new energy to the party.

"I am actually working with local Tea Party people in West Virginia and it is a lot of people who may normally vote Republican but there is a fervor factor where they are far more engaged this year than in the past," he said.

The latest polls show Republicans are energized about the November elections, largely because of their opposition to President Obama and concerns about government spending and the rising government debt.

Political analyst John Fortier with the American Enterprise Institute has been looking at the issues that motivate the Tea Party activists. "They care about government.  By overwhelming margins they care about the size of government and they are worried we are doing too much, too soon.  They don't like Obama's policies," he said.

Fortier says the rise of the Tea Party movement will help Republicans in November to pick up seats in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

Georgetown University expert Stephen Wayne agrees with that assessment.  But Wayne, like some other analysts, also cautions that the impact of the Tea Party movement should not be over-estimated.

"From the polls that we've seen, most of the people who are active in the Tea Party movement are conservative and Republican," he said. " So what I think it does is that the Tea Party movement preaches to the converted and I think this will keep that small Republican base very active and they will come out and vote.  But I don't see the Tea Party movement adding to the Republican vote. I see it just keeping that vote very active."

The party that controls the White House historically loses congressional seats in a new president's first midterm election. That number can range from a handful of seats to 20 or 30 or more, depending on the political climate.

Many analysts compare this year's election cycle with that of 1994 when Republicans made huge gains against incumbent Democrats and took control of both houses of Congress.  Republicans need a 40-seat gain in the House this year to retake control of that chamber, and many analysts say they are within striking distance of that goal, although they quickly add that the political environment can still change between now and November.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid