The date for elections to Federal (as well as most state and local) offices this year is November 2. According to my date calculator that is 106 days from today.
There's nothing magical about 106 days, but once we get within four months of an election, we tend to look for secret messages coded into the results of public polls. There aren't any, of course, but we try to tease them out nonetheless.
Let's take the poll commissioned by the folks at Bloomberg which was in the field from July 9 - 12 and reached 1,004 U.S. adults ages 18 and over. I give a poll commissioned by the Bloomberg organization about as much weight as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gives to a poll commissioned by Fox News.
You know my rule about throwing out the high and the low results from a stack of polls. According to RealClearPolitics.com's polling summary. Of the six polls which have been out of the field in the past week, Fox had Obama's approval rating at 43 percent (the lowest of the six); and Bloomberg had Obama's approval at 52 percent (the highest of the group).
Bloomberg must have asked its respondents if they were registered to vote because on the "generic vote" (would you vote for the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate for Congress?) question, among all respondents, 43 percent said would vote for (or were leaning toward) the Democratic candidate; 43 percent for the Republican.
But, on this question alone in the public data, where the answers of registered voters were separated out, the result swerved pretty significantly toward the GOP: 40 percent of RVs said they would vote for (or were leaning toward) the D; 48 percent said they were for the R - a swing of eight percentage points.
I bring this to your attention because, as you may have heard, Barack Obama will not be on the ballot in November. Neither will George W. Bush be in the White House. You can be certain, though, that the Democratic National Committee will do everything it can to remind you of how unhappy you were when GWB was in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Obama will not be running, but if the GOP does its job properly the November election will be a referendum on Obama's policies.
Bloomberg asked whether respondents had become more or less supportive of a number of issues and policies over the past few months:
- The Arizona Immigration law: 48 percent more supportive; 26 percent less (-22)
The Obama Administration is suing Arizona;
- The stimulus bill: 35% more supportive; 31% less (+4)
The White House is crowing about the positive effects of the stimulus package
- Health care overhaul: 29% more supportive; 37% less (-8)
Health care is Obama's legacy issue