The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll (PDF) is really, really bad news for Democrats less than two months out from the election. While Democrats trail Republicans by only two percentage points among registered voters, 45-47, they are losing by 13 points among likely voters. That is a massive lead for Republicans. For a comparison, right before taking the House in 2006, the same poll found Democrats with a six-point edge among likely voters. If this holds, the extreme enthusiasm gap will be devastating for the Democratic party.
Support for President Obama and his policies is also at new lows. Right now, only 46 percent approve of his job performance while 52 percent disapprove. Currently, a small plurality, 33 percent, actually think his economic programs have made the economy worse while only 30 percent think they have made the economy better.
If things don’t change, and that seems unlikely because there is little sign the economy will improve in the short term, Democrats are on track to lose control of the House, and possibly even the Senate.
One interesting thing about the poll, which Kevin Drum picks up on, is that registered voters don’t actually like or trust Republicans more than Democrats. By a small margin, they trust Democrats slightly more to be able to better cope with the main problems the country faces.
The problem, of course, is that we have a two-party system. While they have been in control for the past two years, Democrats have failed to improve the lot of most Americans, and, as a result, voters want to punish them. Because of our two-party system, voting for the Republican Party is most often the only way Americans have to punish the Democrats.