Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tomorrow morning's WSJ has this story by political reporter Jeanne Cummings asserting that the defeat of three incumbents in recent primaries-- Sen. Joe Lieberman (Dem.? Ind.? Rep.?) and Reps. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) and Joe Schwartz (R-Mich.) are "the latest evidence of a broader anti-incumbent sentiment."

She also writes:

The dissatisfaction affects both parties, but voter unrest is more dangerous to Republicans since they are the party in power and have more seats at risk. According to Wall Street Journal polls, the anti-incumbent mood in the 2006 cycle mirrors that of the 1994 midterm election in which Democrats lost control of both chambers of Congress. In the latest Journal/NBC News survey, 38% of voters said their representative "deserves re-election," while 48% said it is "time to give a new person a chance." Such numbers have in the past been a good indicator of a coming congressional shake-up.
The public is in "a very, very sour mood," says Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducts the Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey with his Republican counterpart Bill McInturff. "Only a quarter of the people say the country is headed in the right direction. The public is going to view any incumbent with a jaundiced eye," said Mr. Hart.

My own thoughts: McKinney and Lieberman , the two Democrats went down to defeat, were not typical instances of anti-incubentism. Lieberman's problems with Conn. voters were longstanding, and were also, as well known, in part because of the perception that he was too close with Republicans and supported the war with Iraq. McKinney had assaulted a Capitol police officer, and had been an ineffective legislator and embarasment for her constituents for some time.

The critical question will be whether voters are going to the polls in anti-incumbent mood or anti Bush mood, or in part both.

On the other hand, the 2006 congressional midterms may turn out very different from the 1994 insurgent Republican upheaval. More on that later....

No comments: