As noted in today's Abbreviated Pundit Round-Up, a most amazing polling result has just come down the pike. Finally, and at just the right time, voters have become sick of gridlock! This creates the opportunity for President Obama to convert what seems to be a solid win in the Presidential race into something ultimately far more useful: A Legislative Landslide!
The biggest buried lede in recent polling is a 60-25 view that more progress is likely if one party controls all three branches of government. This is the view of Likely Voters. Even more (63-23) White LVs agree. Even more (64-23) Male LVs agree. Even more (68-20) Republican LVs agree. These are precisely the demographics whose votes are needed by Democrats to win in pink House districts. (A table of these cross-tabs is inserted below.)
This has been a long time coming, but finally the prospective election of a Democratic President seems to lead the public not to want to elect a Republican legislature for balance, but rather a unified Democratic government to get things done.
It's time to nail down the final thing that the public needs to understand to drive home the point: the filibuster. Obama needs to call, for this next Congressional term at least, for filibuster reform.
Does this seem too optimistic for you? Let's check out some polling results after the dark cloud over the Romney campaign.
Here's a Quinnipiac poll that asked this question of likely voters:
10. Thinking about the major problems facing this country today do you think Washington is more likely to make progress on them after the 2012 election if one party controls the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, or if control of the White House, the Senate, and the House and Representatives is divided between the parties?
The results appear in this order: "One Party Control," "Control Divided," "DK/NA"
Total: 60, 25, 15That's huge. That's unexpected. That's powerful.
Rep: 68, 20, 12
Dem: 61, 26, 13
Indy: 57, 25, 17
Men: 64, 23, 13
Wom: 56, 27, 17
White: 63, 23, 14
Black: 50, 31, 20
That's not just opportunity knocking; it's opportunity battering down the door.
It's a rare chance to send opponents reeling.
What needs to happen now?
How will races for Congress be affected if Obama now asks voters to “Replace Gridlock with accountability: give me a cooperative Congress, see the results and, two years later, hold us accountable”?
One thing that will happen, of course, is that Republican candidates and PACs will respond that “Democrats had both houses of Congress during Obama’s first two years.” In many ways that's not true, but that's OK -- this time they're stepping into a trap!
This argumet invites Harry Reid to issue reminders of the Republican’s world records on filibusters – and ideally for Reid to make a public commitment to eliminate (or greatly restrict) filibusters during the upcoming two-year term. (I've generally been a filibuster-reform skeptic, but these results suggest that it's now or never.) Reid’s press conferences on this could include Al Franken to remind us how long his arrival in the Senate was delayed by Republicans’ bad faith recount demands and related lawsuit. It
should also be effective to remind voters and the press of the very short -- less than two months -- time between Franken’s arrival and Ted Kennedy’s death.
Most close followers of Senate antics know that the same Republicans who break records in the number of actions blocked through filibusters and related holds and tricks, will quickly adopt their “nuclear option” in order to prevent Democrats from blocking even a much smaller number of more important actions. But Democrats who worry about “giving up” future availability of this illusory power might be reassured if Reid describes his planned filibuster-free term as “an experiment in accountability”.
This is an audacious plan to tell voters that given the power we will use it for real reform. We're up against a boob as GOP nominee; he won't be able to muster his party against it. What we need is unified government. Let's tell the public that we're the ones who can give it to them -- and that this time we'll know how to use it!
6:35 AM PT: UPDATE: The APR-U citation is to a WSJ/NBC poll; I can't tell if it's different from Quinnipiac. (If so -- weird coincidence!) Here are some nice call-outs from the linked article:
A majority of voters want one party to control Congress and the White House next year, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll, a remarkable opinion shift that suggests deep frustration with Washington gridlock.As someone who a political scientist studying American politics 20 years ago, I can tell you: this shift is HUGE!
The Journal survey of registered voters, to be released in full at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on WSJ.com, found 52% want effectively one party to rule Washington, with 39% wanting a divided government. It’s the first time a majority of voters supported the idea in the Journal poll going back to the mid-1980s.
Mark Harrod, 39 years old, of Jacksonville, Fla., said he longs for a return to the “Clinton days or the Reagan days, when people actually worked together.” But since neither party is willing to do that, the construction worker says he thinks Democrats should get another shot at running Washington.
“Maybe they’d get more done. Then there’d be no more excuses,” Mr. Harrod, an independent, said. “You can’t say, ‘Oh, they didn’t let us do this’ or ‘they didn’t let us do that.’”
7:35 AM PT: I'm going to do something sort of bad and off-topic here, but given the visibility of the Rec List and the potential benefit, I think it's justified.
I wrote this little parody of the song "Maria" from West Side Story and published it yesterday. I mention it here not because I'm trying to get more people to read it, but because I'd like to get someone with a decent voice who can plausibly pass for Scott Brown (which I can't) to record a video performing it. I've had more than one person suggest to me that such a video could go viral within Massachusetts. Feel free to write me for ideas on what such a video would look like. (Basically, it's David Gregory's question as a voice-over; splicing in Elizabeth Warren's reaction shot; and the rest is you.)