Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let's not get too excited by polls showing a drop in public support for Obama, the Democrats and their policies.

The reason is that polls pose only indirect pressure on a politician. They're not obligated to vote according to the polls, no matter how much the public as a whole may not like something, a politician is free to ignore those polls when voting for or against a given piece of legislation.

Politicians pay attention to polls only to the extent they believe the polls foretell problems in getting themselves re-elected.

And to this, Obama isn't concerned about polls (not that he wouldn't use favorable polls as an argument for enacting his policies) as he doesn't face re-election for close to three years and, as we've seen with previous presidents, a lot can and probably will change between now and then. Furthermore, even if Obama's ratings don't rebound, there's no guarantee that his GOP opponent will be any more popular with the public (guaranteed if the GOP stupidly nominates Palin).

Most Democratic senators aren't at risk. Only a relative handful are up for re-election next year, most are safe until 2012 or 2014, and these Senators aren't going to be overly worried about a vote today coming back to haunt them years down the road.

And neither are most Democrats at risk as they represent pretty blue districts. It isn't as if Pelosi or Barney Frank fear losing their seats to Republicans.

There are some Democrats in Congress who are exposed, these are Democrats representing purple/reddish districts and who won their seats by portraying themselves as right of the traditional liberal Democrat. These represetatives know they can't go too far to the left and expect to hold on to their seat. Thus, they're the ones between the rock that is Nancy Pelosi and the hard place of losing their seats next year because their constituents perceived them more sympathetic to Pelosi's wishes than to the concerns of their constituents.

These are the Democrats who are worried about the polls. And these are the people the GOP needs to target. They are the ones the GOP needs to isolate, they're the ones the GOP needs to put on the record as supporting the liberal agenda. If they do it effectively enough, the GOP might be able to peel away enough Democratic votes to keep Obama and Pelosi and Reid away.