Chris Cillizza, one of my favorite political analysts over at the Washington Post, had an interesting post up this morning entitled “Incumbents Beware!” In it, he reviews what he perceives as a national backlash against incumbents, as cued by the 2009 elections.
What’s clear from this and other national polling as well as a variety of state data — including today’s Ohio Quinnipiac survey — is that there is a widespread belief that politicians are not acting in the best interests of those they represent. This sentiment isn’t terribly new but the depth of these anti-incumbent feelings — particularly among political independents — makes it particularly newsworthy.
Without question, the data does indeed state that political independents do have a sense of anti-incumbency.
But instead, maybe Cillizza should focus more on a more accurate predictor of what’s to come, the generic congressional ballot.
Steve Lombardo from pollster.com makes the argument for me:
A lot can–and will–happen in the next 12 months that will impact the 2010 midterms. The generic congressional ballot, however, is one of the better predictors of future election outcomes and the trend is undeniably positive for Republicans. Below is a regression trend going back a little over one year. Just for fun, if we project this out to Election Day 2010 we’re looking at a GOP landslide. That, of course, is unlikely, but it does show that Democrats should be concerned with the overall trend.
I contest that it’s less about a national sense of anti-incumbency, and instead a simple growing rejection of left wing policy.
What have been the major policy issues over the past ten months?
A massive, pork-laden stimulus bill, a national job crisis, and Obamacare.
These are two liberal-led policy initiatives and a job crisis firmly in the hands of the Party in power.
Want more evidence? Take a look at the vulnerable incumbent Governors running for re-election in 2010.
Stuart Rothenberg, one of the nation’s most respected political analysts, breaks these down for us. As you can see, only 2 of the 7 GOP incumbents are considered vulnerable. Democrats? 6 of 9.
Interestingly enough, a tweet by the Exec. Director of the RGA from earlier today mentioned how they now consider 8 of 9 Dem incumbents to be vulnerable. That means, as of now, they are willing to spend cash to win those seats – in other words, they aren’t just blowing smoke.
That’s turns out to be 89% of Democrat incumbent governors versus 29% of Republican incumbent governors now considered vulnerable.
So is the public generally anti-incumbent? Or are they simply turning away from the Democrat agenda?