PUBLIC REJECTS DEM CONTROL OF CONGRESS – AT 8:19 A.M. ET: The political winds are shifting, and public opinion polls are marking the change:
Washington (CNN) - Americans are divided on whether Democratic control of Congress is good for the country, according to a new national poll.
Well, that's a bit of a whitewash. Read on.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that 7 in 10 Americans believe that the Democrats' loss of their 60 seat supermajority in the Senate is a positive move for the country.
Forty-five percent of people questioned in the poll said Democratic control of Congress is a good thing, with 48 percent disagreeing. The margin is within the survey's sampling error. But the results are a shift from last June, when 50 percent felt that Democratic control of both chambers of Congress was good and 41 percent felt it was bad for the country.
Democrats control the House 256 to 178, with one seat vacant. Last week's victory by Republican Scott Brown in a Massachusetts special Senate election to fill the final three years of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's term means that Brown will become the 41st Republican in the chamber, leaving Democrats with 59 senate seats. That's one short of the filibuster-proof supermajority they have held since last spring, when Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania switched parties.
"The poll provides more evidence of the dwindling appeal of the Democratic party in the wake of last week's special election in Massachusetts," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Fewer Americans have a favorable view of the Democrats, and fewer support Democratic control on Capitol Hill."
COMMENT: Now let's see if Republicans can keep that lovin' feeling through the November election. The verdict on Dem control, though, is getting pretty definitive.
Voters can react in very strange ways, which is why prediction is always a dangerous sport. In 1942, barely 11 months after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt's Democratic Party suffered massive losses in the House. There was still enough uncertainty over the war, and a residual resentment toward the president for winning a third term, to cause substantial discontent. Yet, two years later, with Mr. Roosevelt running for, and winning, a fourth term, his party made up some of the 1942 losses. The war was being won, we were confident, and the Democrats were seen as the "commander-in-chief" party.
So, as Mort Sahl used to say, "the future lies ahead." We can't entirely predict it.
January 26, 2010