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 ↑
While pundits are forecasting a significant number of Democrat members of Congress could lose their seats over their support for the party’s health-care reform plan, “cap and trade,” “amnesty” for illegal aliens and other legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi most likely will be returned to Washington this fall.
The resentment against the adoption by Congress of a plan that will require consumers to purchase government-approved health insurance programs or face financial penalties – a precedent for a nation built on the free market – is boiling already.
Court cases are seeking permission to begin recall proceedings against some members of Congress, and voters vow at least some health-care plan supporters will be out of a job this fall. Some political analysts say they expect the GOP to be the majority in Congress following the election.
Now a new survey reveals that whatever Pelosi may instruct her party colleagues to do at whatever cost to them, her seat is safe for now.
According to a WND/Wenzel Poll conducted by telephone from March 22-24 using an automated telephone technology calling a random sampling of listed telephone numbers nationwide, some 60 percent of the likely voters in her district support her.
The survey carries a margin of error of 4.24 percentage points.
“Pelosi is not as popular as she should be, but it would take an enormously expensive effort and very fortuitous circumstances for her to lose this year,” said Fritz Wenzel of Wenzel Strategies, who performed the survey. “Her job approval is above 50 percent, and San Francisco is a very expensive media market.
“While many congressmen around the country have suffered because of their support for health-care reform and other liberal causes, she does not,” he said.
Pelosi, however, is seeing her support plunge.
Her district, with only about 13-14 percent registered Republicans, long has been regarded as one of the safest Democrat districts in the nation. The GOP has not put a candidate in the seat since the first half of the 1900s.
Pelosi won after being hand-picked by the incumbent in 1988 and has faced “no substantive opposition” in her re-elections, according to analysts.
In the 2008 race, she captured 72 percent of the vote despite having another liberal personality, Cindy Sheehan, also on the ballot. In 2006, she won with more than 80 percent of the vote. Two years earlier, she captured nearly 83 percent, and in 2002, she won with 79 percent.
But this year, the WND/WENZEL poll reveals that on a ballot question, 52 percent of voters definitely would pick her, and another 9 percent “probably” would. But already more than 22 percent are expecting to vote for challenger this year, Republican John Dennis.
And significantly, another 17 percent are undecided.
Asked a second way — how the vote would go if the election were held today — the poll showed 61 percent probably or definitely would vote for Pelosi, with nearly 19 percent for Dennis and nearly 21 percent undecided.
That’s even though her district is overwhelmingly liberal, with 56 percent holding a “very favorable” opinion of “Obamacare,” more than half the voters rating Pelosi’s performance as excellent or good and Dennis’ relative lack of recognition. Some 80 percent withheld an opinion on the Republican.
“Liberals all across the nation are suffering similar downturns in their polling numbers because of a handful of key factors, most of which have to do with congressional refusal to listen to what their constituents back home want the federal government to do – or not do,” said Wenzel.
“Pelosi is fortunate that she lives in such a lopsided district that when she loses 20 points, she still has plenty of room to spare between her and her opponent. This precipitous drop is all her fault. Perhaps knowing she has so much support to play with back home is a driving force for her to push such a strident agenda as the government health care plan,” he said.
“Her problem will be twofold going forward: first, because there is now a steady drip of new taxes and costs leaking out about the health care bill, she and her Democratic colleagues are in for a summer of continuous bad economic news during a recession, and there are dozens of Democrats in more competitive districts who will be destroyed by this coming news. Her second problem is that she no longer controls the flow of that bad news, and so she cannot control the story line – the result is that it will kill any other activist agenda she might have planned for the summer,” Wenzel said.
Dennis is a businessman and entrepreneur who founded Humanscale and created Foundation Real Estate in San Francisco.
He’s also founder of the San Francisco chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus and currently the head of the Campaign for Liberty San Francisco. In 2008, he served as Phonebank and Get Out the Vote Director for the Ron Paul presidential campaign in San Francisco.
Dennis, who has been endorsed by Paul, proposes cutting federal spending, including abolishing the Department of Education, effectively abolishing the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, abolishing capital gains taxes, cutting income tax and demanding a surplus in the federal budget.
Meanwhile, some Republicans bouyed by Scott Brown’s stunning defeat of Massachusetts Democrats’ hand-picked successor for the Senate seat held for decades by the late Edward Kennedy are displaying optimism.
“Let’s get behind this candidate and defeat the ‘Witch of the West’ … just like we did with Scott Brown,” wrote one forum participant at Patriots for America.
Liberty PAC chief Jesse Benton said: “John Dennis is a terrific candidate who is going to ask tough questions like: ‘Why is Nancy Pelosi running up crushing budget deficits?’, ‘Why has she allowed President Obama to expand the war in Afghanistan?’, and, ‘Why has Nancy Pelosi refused to support transparency and accountability at the Federal Reserve.’ The constituents of California’s 8th district deserve answers to these questions.”
“Democrats nationwide did not listen to their constituents on this bill, and Pelosi is no different. She will pay a price in prestige back home and in influence in Washington. It is hard to see how Democrats will be able to build any kind of story line that leads to their retention of the House next November, especially when you couple that with growing national support for the conservative tea party movement. It might not push her from office, but it will almost certainly push her from the speakership.”