Monday, March 8, 2010

Obama Fails to Reassemble the 2008 Coalition

As the Democratic congressional leadership and President Barack Obama attempt a final push on health care, an examination of the election results from the three statewide elections since November strongly suggests vulnerable Democratic congressional and senate incumbents are on their own. Even with prodigious effort, Obama was unable to reassembly his 2008 winning coalition.

In particular, independent votes shifted to Republicans in big numbers. In New Jersey, Obama won 51 percent of independents in 2008, but Gov. Corzine only won 30 percent. In Virginia, Obama’s independent support dropped 16 points in the Deeds race.

In Massachusetts, Democrat Martha Coakley saw a drop off in blue collar Democratic areas, such as Lowell of 18% and the smaller towns in central Massachusetts by similar percentages.

Massachusetts held especially onerous news for Democrats because of the importance of the health care bill to the Democratic loss. It suggests that forcing a Democratic vote on health care may be the worst political decision since President G.W. Bush and Karl Rove believed the war strategy could not be changed and Republicans would hold the line with small losses in November of 2006.

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