News / USA

Obama Faces Leadership Test in November Elections

U.S. voters go to the polls in less than nine weeks to elect a new Congress, and the election results will have a huge impact on President Barack Obama's approach to governing during the next two years.  

The Obama White House is focused on Iraq and Middle East peace talks this week, but the midterm congressional elections will dominate the U.S. political scene for the next nine weeks, and both major political parties have a lot riding on the outcome.

Republicans are favored to pick up congressional seats this year after losing dozens of seats during the past two election cycles.

In the latest Gallup Poll, voters prefer the Republicans over Democrats by a margin of 51 to 41 percent.  That is the largest margin ever in that poll for the Republican Party.

Public-opinion surveys show that voters increasingly disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing and have a negative view of the national economy.

Another factor that bodes well for Republicans is that millions of conservatives appear energized to vote this year.  That is thanks in large part to the grass roots movement known as the Tea Party and the efforts of conservative commentators like Glenn Beck.

Beck drew a large conservative crowd to Washington recently for what he said was a non-political rally that had strong religious overtones.

"Something beyond imagination is happening," said Beck.  "Something that is beyond man is happening.  America today begins to turn back to God!"

Democrats worry that many of their supporters are apathetic about this year's elections, and the growing political energy on the right could have a huge impact, says David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.  He appeared on VOA's Encounter program.

"Voters are more angry than usual with incumbents, but that does not necessarily mean that incumbents of both parties are going to be at risk in the general election.  Democrats are the ones at risk in the general election because Republicans are simply more energized," said Wasserman.

Numerous polls show Americans are most concerned about the national economy and the high unemployment rate.

Republicans are eager to hold the president responsible for the lack of an economic turnaround, including Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

"Look, it is very, very clear that the economic policies of the Obama administration and this Congress are failing miserably," he said.

Mr. Obama did promise economic improvement when he took office in early 2009.  He continues to ask voters for patience.   

"I have got confidence in the American economy and most importantly I  have got confidence in the American people.  We have just got to start working together to get this done," said the president.

Analyst Tom DeFrank of the "New York Daily News" says the president faces a crucial political test between now and the November election.

"I think a reasonable person would suggest that it has not worked out the way he and millions of Americans had hoped it would be, and he is got some explaining to do and he's got some leadership to do," he said.

Republicans need to gain 39 seats to retake control of the House of Representatives and 10 seats to win a majority in the Senate.

Analyst David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report says Republicans already appear within striking distance of a victory in the House.

"Our current outlook is for a Republican gain of at least 35 seats in the House, but it is hard to put a ceiling on it," said Wasserman.  "I do not think it is possible for Republicans to gain more than about 60 seats in the House, but keep in mind that they gained 52 seats in 1994.  We could see something in that range again.  We are on that track."

The 1994 midterm election gave Republicans control of Congress during President Bill Clinton's first term in office and forced him to scale back what had been an ambitious legislative agenda.

But the rise of conservative activists has also caused some turmoil within the Republican Party.  Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski has conceded defeat to political unknown Joe Miller in the Republican primary.  Miller was helped by Tea Party activists and also got the endorsement of former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Murkowski is the third U.S. senator to be ousted in a primary this year, following in the footsteps of Utah Republican Bob Bennett and Pennsylvania Democrat Arlen Specter.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid