LA Times on the Independent Voter Swing
“Exit polls circulating on the House floor Wednesday were even more unnerving to Democrats. The Republican candidates, the polls indicated, had received the votes of two-thirds of independent voters.”
“…Now, as the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate prepare for next year’s midterm elections, some moderate Democrats are wondering whether they can afford to follow President Obama’s ambitious legislative agenda on such controversial issues as healthcare and climate change. One said the results were a “wake-up call.”
“There are going to be a lot more tensions between the White House and Congress,” predicted Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), a member of the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats. “They’ve been under the surface so far — and they’re going to come out in the open.”
Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, said that Democrats such as Cooper had reason to be nervous.
“Republicans won independents by 2 to 1. It was overwhelming. It was breathtaking,” Ayres said. “That is a huge shift since the last two elections in a very short amount of time.”
Ayres said that his polling data indicate a clear shift in the independent vote starting in April. He said that “spending and debt” are the reasons — “starting with the bailouts, followed up with the stimulus package, the budget with its $1-trillion deficit, healthcare with another trillion.”