Obama battling to stave off Democratic disaster
Mr Obama has travelled the country as the campaign nears its November 2 Election Day climax, widely expected to leave him facing opposition control in the House of Representatives and a diminished Democrat majority in the Senate.
Polling shows the President and fellow Democrats in a trough of disfavour with the majority of American voters who are frustrated and angry over the administration’s failure to resurrect the US economy and bring down near 10 per cent unemployment after the country’s worst fiscal nose dive in decades.
Mr Obama has already undertaken an arduous swing through the West and Midwest, but the political battles continued on the television news programmes.
Republican Party chief Michael Steele predicted a wave of anti-Democratic voting on Election Day. Not surprisingly, Democratic counterpart Tim Kaine said a strong get-out-the-vote effort would hold back losses and help prevent a Republican sweep.
With little over a week before the vote, Mr Steele predicted “an unprecedented wave on Election Day that is going to surprise a lot of people”.
Mr Kaine said Democrats would retain power in both chambers. He argued that early voting figures from some states and voter turnout at rallies for Democratic candidates were evidence that his party would avoid the disaster analysts are predicting.
A new poll, however, showed he is fighting an increasingly difficult reality for Democrats.
The Associated Press-GfK Poll showed that one in three people has yet to make a choice. Yet 45 per cent of those voters tentatively prefer their district’s Republican House candidate while 38 per cent pick the Democratic contender – the same seven per cent point margin Republicans hold with people who have already decided.
Compared with voters who have decided on a candidate, those open to change think less of congressional Democrats, the new survey showed, and are more inclined to oust their incumbent representative and are more pessimistic about the economy, this year’s crucial issue.
By some estimates, at least 75 of all 435 House seats on the ballot this year may change hands, and most of those are held by Democrats. An additional two dozen other races for Democratic-controlled seats have tightened in recent weeks.
In the Senate, Democrats are seen as having a better chance of holding their majority.