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Democrats Face Electoral Headwinds For 2012

In more bad news for Democrats, America continues to track right-of-center.  A new Gallup poll indicates that “a record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed”, and that the public’s faith in government’s ability to solve problems is plumbing new depths:

Majorities of Democrats (65%) and Republicans (92%) are dissatisfied with the nation’s governance. This perhaps reflects the shared political power arrangement in the nation’s capital, with Democrats controlling the White House and U.S. Senate, and Republicans controlling the House of Representatives. Partisans on both sides can thus find fault with government without necessarily blaming their own party.

The findings are from Gallup’s annual Governance survey, updated Sept. 8-11, 2011.

Other key findings just make it worse.  This is going to be a tough electorate to sell on an expanded role for the federal government.

  • 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
  • 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.
  • 57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.
  • 53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.
  • Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.
  • 49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.
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  • Richard F. Miller

    This is a crisis of legitimacy, which operates on similar principles as those facing COIN warriors, (but mercifully, far paler than is the case in failed/failing states such as Afghanistan.)

    If this sounds odd–after all, our elections are frequent, full and fair–it is because voting is only one means of establishing governmental legitimacy. The other relates to perceptions of–and more important, remedies for–corruption.

    The Meltdown undermined federal legitimacy when it became clear that despite the noise, no one–repeat, no one–has been arrested, prosecuted, disbarred or stripped of any license to do business although trillions had been lost in schemes that were doubtful at the time, rated by those who knew better, aided and abetted by government policy and politicians, and involved tens of millions of dollars flowing between Wall Street and Washington.

    On the political side two of the most corrupt malefactors–Dodd and Frank–actually have their names conferred on “reform” legislation while of the three largest recipients of FNMA contributions, one chairs Senate Foreign Relations (Kerry) while the other is President of the United States.

    The trend is bipartisan. After 9/11, no heads rolled while Tenant continued at CIA, later given a medal by Bush. Not even the 9/11 Commission was exempt, as one of the architects (Gorelick) of the dimwitted U.S. defense was a commissioner.

    Electorates don’t always get it right, but they’ve got this one right. Their living standards diminish while Harry Reid is one of the few Americans whose personal net worth rose in the last ten years.

    Long, long ago, after Pearl Harbor was attacked and during a time when the U.S. was losing badly the Pacific War, Roosevelt still established a commission to investigate the disaster. It was formed in December ’41 and reported one month later. Heads rolled.

    When did the governing elites in this country become so complacent as to assume that legitimacy, like absolute monarchy, was somehow inherited?

  • Corlyss

    Selina Zito of the Pittsbugh newspaper just finished a tour of the parts of Pennsylvania that Democrats refer to as “Alabama.” She found that the electorate was in a high dudgeon with anyone in office. She reckons that this will be an election where anyone in office will be turffed out next year.

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