A new Fox News poll goes a long way to explaining the growing anxiety among Democrats about the upcoming midterm elections. Not only is support for Obama and his signature Obamacare law underwater, both are more unpopular than they were at this point ahead of the mid-term elections in 2010. Support for the Democrats and Obamacare, in fact, is less than it was on the eve of the 2010 election, when Republicans routed Democrats up and down the ballot.
Today, just 42% of voters approve of the job Obama is doing as President, while 51% disapprove. Among Independents, Obama fares worse, with just 32% approving of his performance and 62% disapproving. In late April, 2010, however, voter approval of Obama was split, 46-46. Obama’s approval ratings today almost match those in late October 2010 when 41% of voters approved and 50% disapproved.
In this latest poll, Republicans lead the generic Congressional ballot by 3 points, 44-41. This is roughly were the party stood in April 2010, with the GOP leading Democrats 42-38.
In fact, the Republican party is more popular today than it was four years ago. Today, voters split on approval of the GOP, 45-45. In April, 2010, however, only 40% of voters approved of the GOP against 50% who disapproved. This represents a 10-point swing towards the Republican party. Among Independents, the Republicans enjoy an 8-point advantage over Democrats.
Part of the explanation is Obamacare, which is more unpopular today than four years ago. Independents oppose the law by more than a 2-1 margin, 31-63. Worse still, 72% of Independents say Obamacare will be an important factor in their vote this fall. By almost a 2-1 margin, 54-29, Independents say that, all things being equal, they would prefer a candidate who pledges to “fight” Obamacare.
Obviously, the midterms aren’t being held today. A lot politically can happen over the next 7 months. Still, it ought to be sobering for Democrats that they begin the midterm campaigns in worse shape than they were four years ago.