Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note:This is another in a series of monthly “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
A new survey shows a political “maelstrom” brewing in the U.S. that threatens not only Democrats in power but Republicans who have the tag “incumbent” attached to their name.
“They say movie sequels are never as strong as the original film, but politics can be different. There is every indication that, following the passage this week of the massive national health-care legislation, the political maelstrom brewing across the country is building to proportions that will make the 1994 Republican Revolution look like a light summer breeze,” said Fritz Wenzel of Wenzel Strategies.
“But this time, Democrats may not be the only endangered incumbents, as this data shows Republican congressmen are also in serious danger.”
The WND/Wenzel Poll was conducted by telephone from March 22-24 using an automated telephone technology calling a random sampling of listed telephone numbers nationwide. The survey included 30 questions and carries a 95 percent confidence interval. It included 792 likely voters. It carries a margin of error of 3.46 percentage points.
It revealed Americans believe overwhelmingly – nearly 60 percent to about 35 percent – that the nation is going in the wrong direction. Nearly that same percentage believe President Obama is doing a poor or only fair job, and a stunning total of more than 80 percent of voters believe Congress is doing only fair (18.8 percent) or poor (62 percent).
What will that mean for the November election?
“Republicans enjoy only a small 40 percent to 36 percent advantage over Democrats in the generic ballot test about which party’s candidate voters would choose. But generic challengers simply demolish generic incumbents by a 68 percent to 32 percent margin,” confirmed Wenzel in his analysis of the results.
“This is stunningly dangerous news for all 435 House offices on Independence Avenue in Washington, but not surprising when compared with another data point from this poll: that just 17 percent give Congress a positive job approval rating, and 62 percent give them the most negative rating of ‘poor’.”
A big factor is the recent maneuvering by Congress and Obama to make law his health-care plan that effectively nationalizes the industry.
“One thing is clear – a majority of the public still opposes the health bill, and men appear poised to react more negatively in the months to come. Other data in this survey and others I have conducted recently show that the Anxious White Male may well replace the Soccer Mom and Security Mom as the most important demographic in the congressional elections,” Wenzel said. “This is just more evidence that Democrats are facing some tough sledding on the campaign trail.”
He explained that the results shows voter antagonism is not limited to the health-care issue..
“Asked if they are more likely to vote this year for a congressman who supported the health care bill, 44 percent said they are more likely, while 53 percent said they are less likely to do so,” he said.
“Combined with the virulent reaction to incumbents in this same survey, this indicates there is a disgust for Congress that stretches beyond just the health care issue,” he continued. “We found that the other major bills likely to be considered next by Congress will all be toxic to those who support them. From the so-called Cap and Trade bill to a new economic stimulus bill, more bailouts for banks or businesses, and comprehensive immigration reform, every one of these issues will significantly damage any lawmaker who supports them. If Obama leads Democrats headlong into any of these areas, the backlash may not end this November.
“Washington lawmakers have crossed a line somewhere that has resulted in a very deep-seated resentment by the people who elect them. The president who promised change has certainly brought change to Washington, but this polling data shows that any hope that still remains is skipping town on the next train out of Union Station.”
The poll shows 40 percent of respondents expect the quality of health care will get much worse under “Obamacare,” as the president’s plan is dubbed, and another 10.4 percent said it will get a little worse. Some 19.8 percent they believe and hope it will improve much.
Nearly 72 percent of voters said they were much less likely or somewhat less likely to support an incumbent in Congress who backs “granting citizenship to millions of people who are now living illegally here in the U.S.” – essentially an amnesty program.
Some 82 percent of voters are much less likely or somewhat less likely to support incumbents who back more bailouts for banks and companies. Nearly 60 percent oppose incumbents who support “economic stimulus” legislation.
Support for “cap and trade,” a plan expected to raise taxes on energy dramatically, earns opposition from nearly 50 percent.
The antipathy towards Congress also extends to Obama, the survey revealed.
“Not that President Obama is riding high after signing the health bill into law – in fact, his job approval rating has dropped to 41 percent from 46 percent a month ago. Men have turned hard against the president … just 30 percent of men say he is doing a good job.”
Women had a higher opinion of Obama, with a bare majority of 52 percent giving him positive marks.
At that time 54 percent of those who had a “very favorable” opinion of the tea party movement said they would vote for the challenger – any challenger – in November. One-third of those who held a “somewhat favorable” opinion and four in 10 who held a “very unfavorable” opinion would do the same.
While those who were not sure was a statistically high 33 percent of the total, 41 percent of respondents said they would support a challenger to only 26 percent for the incumbent.
The February poll showed only 2.8 percent of Americans believed Congress’ job performance is excellent, including only 7.5 of Democrats.