According to the results of a recent Pew survey, 49 percent of independents identified as “likely voters” said they will support a GOP candidate, compared to 36 percent who said they plan to vote Democratic:
In an ominous sign for President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, independent voters now favor Republicans by nearly the same margins that they went for Obama in 2008 and his party in the 2006 mid-term, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released Wednesday.
“For the third national election in a row, independent voters may be poised to vote out the party in power,” Pew concludes.
In other words — a bad case of buyer’s remorse. But this is not a result of an anti-Washington/anti-incumbent frustration over a lack of progress on key issues that is typical in mid-term elections. Independent voters are significantly concerned with the actions already taken by Congress and the White House:
Overall, 45 percent of independents disapprove of the health care reforms passed this year compared to 41 percent who approve of them. A third of independents say Obama’s economic policies have made conditions worse for them rather than better, compared to 24 percent who take a more positive view.
“They feel that the issues have been dealt with but not in a way that is satisfactory to them,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center.
And an increasing number of independents want to stop the growth of government:
In 2006, 53 percent of independents said they’d prefer a smaller government with fewer services; today, 59 percent of them want a check on government growth. In 2006, 67 percent of independents were not satisfied with national conditions; today, 76 percent aren’t happy.
In 2008, President Obama successfully sold independent voters on the idea that government was answer to the country’s problems. What a difference two years makes:
“Trust in government is at one of the lowest points in 60 years of polling,” said Kohut. “It’s a backlash against what is seen as government policies and programs that are too liberal or too much in the vein of government expansion.”