While the polls suggest that Republicans will pick up many seats, and possibly a majority, in both houses of Congress, this should not be mistaken for meaning and great amount of love for Republicans. The latest CNN poll is consistent with several other polls in showing that the public disapproves of Congress, and dislikes the Republicans more than Democrats:
Thirty-four percent of people questioned in the poll approve of the job Democratic leaders in Congress are doing, with 64 percent saying they disapprove of how congressional Democratic leaders are handling their duties. According to the survey 31 percent give Republican congressional leaders a thumbs up, with two out of three disapproving of the job they are doing.
Even among registered voters, support for each party is quite close. The difference comes down to far more Democrats planning to remain at home. Governing from the center might have backfired against the Democrats. Regardless of how far the Democrats have moved towards the center, and even adopted many former Republican policies, the Republicans have won the spin war in falsely portraying the Democrats as being on the far left. The Democrats are not picking up the votes of moderates that we’d expect with an informed electorate, but moving towards the center is leading to many Democratic voters staying home.
As Democracy Corps found last week, Democratic messages are not working to inspire voters to turn out to vote or support Democrats. There is little time left this cycle for Democrats to get out a coherent message as to why voters should vote for them. I think they might have succeeded with either a more consistently liberal or more centrist argument. The problem is that they have not made a coherent argument based upon either, leaving many people who dislike the Republicans planning to stay home.