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Voter discontent

Posted: September 17, 2010 12:06 p.m.
Updated: September 17, 2010 12:04 p.m.

For most of the last 50 years, a curious phenomenon has existed among the American electorate, even when things weren’t going well for the country and people. In bad times, people tended to disapprove of the job Congress was doing as a whole, but they didn’t blame their own Congressman. That explains the fact that people get elected over and over in Washington. But a recent New York Times/CBS poll shows a dangerous sign for Washington incumbents: the highest proportion of voters in two decades say it’s time for their own member of Congress to be replaced.

That merely reinforces what’s been in the news for months now, the fact that Americans are dissatisfied with the job being done in Congress and are demanding change. President Obama’s popularity is at its lowest since he was elected. Americans agree in alarming proportions that Congress isn’t up to the job facing it. But Republicans had better not be too gleeful about all that. The only reason Democrats are more at risk is because there are more of them in the nation’s capital.

The poll shows the GOP is held in less regard than Democrats, but Dems are getting the blame because of their overwhelming majority in both houses. So indeed, there will be gains for Republicans. But the Tea Party -- love it or detest it -- is splitting factions with the Republican Party and could make it more difficult for the GOP to capture vulnerable Democrats’ seats.

The bottom line? “Throw the bums out” is the order of the day, with blame being heaped upon the party in power despite the fact that the alternative isn’t viewed much better. It will be an interesting election day in November, and lawmakers who have been comfortable for decades might not find they’re so appealing to voters anymore.


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