“Here’s the attitude: ‘Ohhhh, don’t make me do this. Ohhh, this is too hard’…We get elected to make choices. We get elected to solve problems and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to,” Boehner said. He continued, “They’ll take the path of least resistance…I’ve had every brick and bt and arrow shot at me over this issue just because I wanted to deal with it. I didn’t say it was going to be easy.”
These were the words of House Speaker John Boehner as he mocked his own party for their inflexibility on immigration reform.
Indeed, it was never going to be easy and it’s a shame that the Republican caucus has such a terrible attitude not only towards immigration reform – an issue that deserves attention and swift action – but also to the business of legislating more generally.
New poll numbers demonstrate that it is this bad attitude which may be the only thing keeping them from running away with the midterm elections come November.
Yesterday’s Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that by a 53 to 39 percent margin, Americans want Republicans to control Congress. This spread is eerily reminiscent of the poll numbers from September 2010, just two months before the Republican landslide.
President Obama’s approval rating has gone down recently. After a bump in the early months of 2014 to 46 percent, it’s now at 41 percent with 52 percent disapproving of the job he’s doing.
Only 42 percent approve of President Obama’s handling of the economy, 37 percent approve of how he is handling the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and 34 percent approve of his handling of the situation involving Ukraine and Russia.
The Washington Post/ABC News isn’t the only outfit reporting these kinds of figures. Recent Fox and Economist/YouGov polls have the President’s approval at 41 and 42 percent respectively.
These sinking polls are sure to debunk Democrat optimism. And they show that the Senate is firmly in play.
According to the New York Times/Kaiser Foundation, there are close races in four southern states that we should be watching. The poll highlights races in Arkansas, North Carolina, Kentucky and Louisiana – all states that President Obama lost in 2012 and where his disapproval ratings run as high as 60 percent.
Take North Carolina for instance. Kay Hagan has the support of 42 percent of voters while the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, Thom Tillis, is at 40 percent. Hagan’s approval rating is at 44 percent – the same as her disapproval number.
Mark Pryor currently holds a 10-point lead in Arkansas and has a 47-38 approval rating, but tanking Democrat numbers are bound to tighten up his race. The same is true of Mary Landrieu’s race in Louisiana where she holds a lead. But Landrieu has her work cut out for her in distancing herself from Obama, a task that she has already been hard at work to do.
And we can all but count West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota as likely Democrat losses.
There are still two things that work to the Democrats’ advantage. The first is that Mitch McConnell is effectively tied with his Democratic challenger and has a 52 percent disapproval rating. The Republican nature of the state still makes him a favorite, especially considering how unpopular Obama is in Kentucky (32 percent approval), but the race is still close.
In Georgia, daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn and Democrat candidate Michelle Nunn is currently in a dead heat or ahead of every potential Republican opponent. After more than 10 years since Georgia elected a Democratic senator, it’s a long-shot to see Nunn take the seat, but once again it’s possible.
All of this indicates that the Democrats have a tough road ahead – even tougher than they thought.