Donald Lambro

The media frenzy over the relatively short, 16-day budget war led to widespread forecasts that it would result in massive Republican losses in the 2014 midterm elections. Don't bet on it.

To be sure, the fallout is still being measured across the country by election handicappers. But it seems doubtful that Democrats are going to win a lot of seats on the basis of a transitory event.

Not when public opinion polls show far more important issues weigh much more heavily on the minds of most voters.

While polls showed voters blamed Republicans more than Democrats at the time, many also blamed Democrats as well as President Obama for the government shutdown.

Politics can be a fickle business, and yesterday's battles soon fade as the focus shifts to more important bread and butter issues that affect people in their day to day lives.

As the memory of the shutdown recedes, the attention of the voters has furiously turned against Obama and the issues they identify with the ruling Democratic party.

Widespread anger over the problem-plagued rollout of the Obamacare law and its harmful impact on millions of Americans who've lost their jobs, or have seen their health insurance policies cancelled, is going to have a big impact on next year's elections. But more on this in a moment.

First and foremost is the weakening Obama economy and jobs, issues that are likely to intensify as we move into the 2014 election year. Economic growth continues slow, and, with it, a steady decline in full-time jobs.

On Thursday, the administration will announce its third quarter economic growth rate that is forecast to come in at an anemic 2 percent increase, down from the 2.5 percent gain in the second quarter. That's not good.

On Friday, the Labor Department will report the jobless rate for October that was expected to push unemployment up to 7.3 percent from September's 7.2 percent.

What do Americans think of the Obama economy? The respected Gallup Poll reported Tuesday that its Economic Confidence Index precipitously tumbled 16 percentage points last month.

"That's the sharpest monthly drop since Gallup began tracking economic confidence daily in 2008," the polling firm said.

At the same time, Gallup's daily, nationwide tracking poll shows Obama's poor job approval score dropping to a 40 percent low -- with a 53 percent majority of all Americans surveyed now saying they don't like the job he's doing. That is, if he's on the job at all.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.