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Anti-Obama Midterm Vote May Not Signal Disaster In 2012

Helen Tobin |
October 28, 2010 | 11:42 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

President Obama (Creative Commons)
President Obama (Creative Commons)
The midterm elections may not turn out well for President Obama and the Democrats, but a new poll suggests that does not automatically signal disaster in 2012. 

Seventy percent of respondents in the latest survey by The Hill’s of 10 battleground districts said their feelings about President Obama will play an important role in how they vote on Nov. 2.  Even without his name on the ballot, 69 percent of respondents across the country said Obama would affect their choice on Tuesday. 

Yet 54 percent of those polled said Republicans winning back control of Congress this year would have no impact on their vote in 2012. An even higher number of independents, 62 percent, said a Republican Congress would have no impact on their vote for president in 2012.  This is good news for President Obama, as the latest polls suggest Republicans will make significant gains in the House and Senate on Election Day. 
The results indicated that voters are worried about the economy, government spending, and record deficits, but they are not ready to give up on the President who promised hope and change just two years ago. 

Voters want to see Obama move to the center and work more with Republicans, particularly on spending, said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the survey.

Facing the prospect of a Republican Congress, President Obama is sending voters a mixed message in his rallies across the nation: He says he sees opportunities to work with the GOP after Election Day yet warns Washington could be consumed by gridlock if the opposition takes control.

If, however, the Democrats do manage to maintain control of Congress, that will also change how Obama must govern for the next two years.  Obama must tone down spending and encourage greater fiscal responsibility, according to The Hill.         

Penn, a former advisor to President Bill Clinton, knows that another key factor in 2012 will be the economy, which has been a difficult issue for Obama since he took office.  A strong economic rebound could fuel a comeback for Obama, like it did in President Clinton’s victory in 1996.  

If Democrats can manage to improve the economy and end the stalemates in Congress, Obama could see an improvement in his poll numbers by the time he must begin campaigning for reelection.  If, however, Democrats continue to thwart each other and fail to bring the desired change to Washington, they will have no one to blame but themselves come 2012.


Reach reporter Helen Tobin here. Follow her on Twitter @HelenTobin.

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