Philadelphia and the entire tri-state area is so dyed-in-the-wool Democrat blue that it is difficult sometimes to have a conversation about national politics, especially about President Obama. It is fascinating to watch the conflict in thought as the topics of the Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Israel, the border children, immigration or the Affordable Health Care Act come up. On topic after topic, the blue-as-Smurfs party loyalists will complain, but somehow the President gets a pass.
Not so much in the rest of the country.
Those numbers are pretty bad, but not devastating. It seems the same Smurf loyalty I witness locally is keeping the Obama’s overall numbers from plummeting below 40%.
Look at the numbers behind the numbers. 58% disapprove of the President’s handling of the crisis at the Mexican border. 52% disapprove of his handling of Iraq. 59% are opposed to Obamacare. Only 26% think America is heading in the right direction. Only 38% believe President Obama is going a good job with National Security. Only 19% of Americans think the economy is “excellent” or “good.”
With the President getting high marks in nothing, what could possibly be holding his overall numbers up? Blind loyalty. Democrats, who disagree with the President on a wide variety of issues, still vote thumbs up on his overall approval rating. In the weekly Gallup poll, 81% of Democrats approved of the job the President was doing, even though they did not show anywhere near that kind of approval on his handling of a long list variety of issues.
It seems that, short of a major catastrophe, the President’s approval ratings will hover just above 40% because of the high marks he gets from Democrats, especially in the Northeast and on the West Coast.
Although the President’s nagging low marks on a variety of issues don’t seem to drag him down as much as you might expect, they are dead weight for Democrats in mid-term Senate battles.
Again, in the blue bubble over our area it may be difficult to see, but Republicans are near certain to win the Senate, giving them both houses of Congress. The President’s problems may not be hurting him, but they are killing everyone else in the party.
In our area, Democrats Chris Coons in Delaware and Corey Booker in New Jersey will cruise to re-election. But the future of the Senate will be decided in red states and swing states where Democrats are not faring well, thanks to the performance of President Obama.
The split in the Senate right now is 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and 2 Independents who vote with the Democrats. Of the seats that are in play, the GOP needs to take 6 seats to take control. Three — Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia — are in the bag. Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina, Colorado and Michigan are all considered toss-ups. It would be stunning, with the current mood in the country, if the Republicans didn’t pick up at least three of them.
Democrats are pinning hopes on picking up a seat in Georgia, but again, with the current mood in the country, a pick up in a traditional red state seems far-fetched.
Whenever I mention that the Republicans will win the Senate, I am met with horror, disbelief and even ridicule locally. “How can that be? Everyone I know hates the Republicans.” Yes, but the Obama hate in the red states trumps your blue state love in this mid-term.
And that sums up our current political process, fueled more by hate than hope; it divides America into tribes that don’t understand each other and don’t care to try. “We’re right. They’re wrong” is the battle cry. And, of course, as always, when misguided passion clouds reason and intellect, they are all wrong.
Follow @LarryMendte on Twitter.