MONROE CITY, Indiana (Reuters) - In a dozen districts across the U.S. heartland, voter unhappiness has imperiled Republicans, setting the stage for what could be the biggest anti-incumbent midterm election since 1994.Listen, I'm not happy with the reason she's switching her vote, but I am happy she's switching her vote.
Pat Wilkerson says U.S. troops and veterans are her first priority, believes family values are important and voted Republican in 2004. But in November she'll switch parties -- though not because Democrats have won her over.
"When I vote now, it's not who I'm voting for, it's who I'm voting against," said the 59-year-old administrator, adding she is fed up with the war in Iraq and wants troops home.
According to a NY Times/CBS News poll, a whopping 77% of Americans felt incumbent Congresscritters did not deserve re-election. Yes, this poll has never reflected reality (while there has always been a strong anti-incumbent fervor, incumbents still win 98% of the time), and in fact, 39% of respondents said they would vote for their local congressional representative, so you need to figure a fudge factor of 13% on that anti-incumbent movement. However, that 39% is lower than two years ago.
For comparison, however, 82% of Americans ahead of the 1994 election felt Congress did not deserve re-election. And we all know what happened next. The current 77% is the second highest in the history of this poll. And for the first time in the history of this poll (going back to 1974), a party actually has captured more than 50% of voter preference (in other words, just over half of all voters would vote Democratic as opposed to Republican).
The real good news of this poll comes in the backend. Most voters feel the Democrats will tell the truth on Iraq and on terror, while Republicans sadly brought up the rear. Since these are the lynchpins of the Republican national platform for this year, and undoubtedly one or the other will comprise the "October Surprise", Democrats need to lay the groundwork now in order to school the public on precisely what is going on in the world, and if possible, deflate the "surprise" by revealing it ahead of the Republicans.