Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Poll Suggests Opportunities for Both Parties in Midterms - NYTimes.com
By JEFF ZELENY and MEGAN THEE-BRENAN
Republicans are heading into the general election phase of the midterm campaign backed by two powerful currents: the highest proportion of Americans in two decades say it is time for their own member of Congress to be replaced, and voters are expressing widespread dissatisfaction with President Obama’s leadership.
But the latest New York Times/CBS News poll also finds that while voters rate the performance of Democrats negatively, they view Republicans as even worse, providing a potential opening for Democrats to make a last-ditch case for keeping their hold on power.
The poll represents a snapshot of the country’s political mood as the campaign pivots from primary contests that have revealed deep divisions among Republicans into the general election, where the parties deliver their competing arguments to a wider audience. The findings suggest that there are opportunities and vulnerabilities for both parties as they proceed into the final seven weeks of the campaign.
A case for Republicans: Voters are remarkably open to change, even if they are not sure where Republicans will lead them. Most Americans, including one-third of those who were part of the coalition that elected Mr. Obama, now say he does not have a clear plan to solve the nation’s problems or create jobs. Democrats remain highly vulnerable on the economy.
A case for Democrats: The party is seen as having better ideas for solving the country’s problems. The public steadfastly supports the president’s proposal to let tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans. And far more people still blame Wall Street and the Bush administration than blame Mr. Obama for the country’s economic problems.