Traditionally, Americans have not considered it important to have both Congress and the Presidency controlled by the same party, but that has changed dramatically this year. According to Gallup, a record number of Americans would prefer having both branches of government controlled by a single party. A large plurality, 38 percent, would prefer one party control. From Gallup:
The huge growth in support for one-party rule comes primary from a big surge in Democrats who want one party rule, but is also due in part to a solid reduction in the number of Independents who think divided government is good for the country. I suspect this has a lot to do with the terrible relationship between President Obama and the Republican controlled House. The inability to get anything done seems to have convinced a large section of the electorate that divided government doesn’t produce bipartisan compromise, only gridlock.
This could have real implications in Congressional and Senate races. For example, you have Scott Brown trailing in the Massachusetts Senate race primarily because of his party label, despite having one of the best personal favorability ratings in politics.
It will be interesting to see if this results in a significant reduction in split ballot voting this cycle. A solid Obama win, or even the widely held impression that Obama is going to win, could have a bigger coattail effect this year than in past elections.