With US midterm elections on November 2, both Democrats and Republicans are trying to rally voter support.
|A recent poll by AP shows that the Democrats are falling well behind Republicans ahead of the Nov. 2 elections [AFP]|
President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings are at all-time low, has taken his popular wife with him to three campaign stops in the pivotal swing state of Ohio.
The president’s campaign on Sunday aims at firing up the young Democrats who helped him carry the Midwestern state in 2008.
After three straight days of events in Delaware, Massachusetts and Ohio, Obama will head west for stops in Portland on Wednesday, Seattle and San Francisco on Thursday, Los Angeles and Las Vegas on Friday and then Minneapolis on Saturday.
But a new Associated Press (AP) poll suggests that the Democrats may be doing too little, too late – with just over two weeks remaining before mid-term elections.
The survey found that the coalition of voters which swept Obama into the White House just two years ago – aching for change after the eight-year presidency of Republican George W. Bush – has crumbled.
With Obama not on the ballot again until 2012, dispirited supporters are unlikely to hold back a growing Republican and tea party tide.
Obama’s Republican foes have surfed a political spending wave designed to sweep away weakened White House allies.
Blamed for the still-struggling economy and near 10 percent unemployment, Democrats have a scant chance of keeping their majority in the House of Representatives, where all 435 seats are on the ballot.
Republicans also are expected to make significant gains against the Democrat majority in the Senate, where 37 of 100 seats are up for grabs.
The AP poll found that one-fourth of those who voted for Obama two years ago are defecting to the Republicans.
Yet many voters say their switch is more a symbol of anger at the Democrats than a vote in support of the GOP.
Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan reports from Columbus where Michelle Obama joined the campaign
In a sign of voter dissatisfaction with both parties, just as many people who backed Republican presidential nominee John McCain are either supporting Democrats now or still considering how to vote.
Another problem for Democrats is that only half of Obama’s supporters in the 2008 race say they definitely will show up to vote on Nov. 2.
It’s a wide enthusiasm gap that’s buoying Republicans, who are poised for big electoral gains, and worrying Democrats, who are trying to hang onto majorities in Congress, as well as among governors.
Obama’s party hopes its superior get-out-the-vote operation, updated from his groundbreaking 2008 campaign, can overcome Republicans’ energized supporters and mitigate expected losses across the board.
The president has recently tried out ‘new media’ venues like online town hall meetings.
“Some analysts question whether [Obama] is spending too much time going after young voters and not enough time courting senior-citizen voters,” Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from Ohio, said.
Regardless, Obama is now campaigning coast to coast, raising money for candidates and looking to energize Democrats.
But the president has acknowledged that, even in the most reliably liberal states, no Democratic candidate is guaranteed victory.
Looking toward Obama 2.0
The US president took office in January 2009 with the US in the midst of two wars and facing a financial crisis unseen since the Great Depression. Obama’s administration then passed unprecedented stimulus packages to stabilize the American economy, before embarking on significant overhauls of health care, education and financial regulation.
In an interview for Sunday’s New York Times magazine, Obama stood by his accomplishments but admitted having made significant mistakes during the past two years.
“Given how much stuff was coming at us, we probably spent much more time trying to get the policy right than trying to get the politics right,” he was quoted as saying.
Obama also said he had learnt “tactical lessons” after allowing himself to look like “the same old tax-and-spend liberal Democrat,” despite having presented himself as a fresh-scrubbed agent of political change.
Robert Gibbs, White House spokesman, struck an optimistic tone Sunday on the NBC’s Sunday television program “Meet the Press.”
“There’s an excitement about what this president is trying to do. There’s an energy around it,” Gibbs said.
For his part, Obama said on Saturday he still believes Democrats can retain control of Congress, and Gibbs repeated that, saying Democratic candidates “have done a remarkably good job in a tough political environment”.
The country is locked in a nasty, partisan atmosphere that forced Obama, even with large majorities in both houses of congress, into waging extended legislative battles to gain passage of key bills.
And losing the Democratic majority in the House could prevent Obama from implementing his agenda for the remaining two years of his term.