I found the result of a new McClatchy-Marist poll interesting and a bit disappointing. Among registered voters only 46 percent said their impression of President Obama would be a factor in deciding how to vote for congress this November. A majority, 51 percent, said their impression of him would not be a factor at all. To put it bluntly these people are voting wrong.
Regardless of how you feel about Obama or our constitutional system there is no denying that the position of President is incredibly powerful. Given that the President has the power of veto and it is incredibly unlikely either party will ever win a veto-proof majority in both chambers, Obama will continue to play a dominant role in all legislative decisions. Nothing meaningful is going to come from Congress without his signature.
With parties becoming more uniform and unified, individual members of Congress matter less. What is important is the relative partisan control of the different branches.
The three big possible impacts of this upcoming congressional election are fairly simple. If Democrats take the House and the Senate, new laws Obama supports will be adopted. If Republicans hold only the House we will continue to see very little happen legislatively because of their opposition to Obama. Finally, if Republicans win the Senate little will happen legislatively and Obama will even find it difficult to confirm appointees. Note the big role the President plays in all three scenarios.
Elections are ultimately about shaping policy and the President is still central to that even when not directly on the ballot. Like it or not, Obama should be at least a somewhat factor in how everyone decides to cast their vote this November.
From the White House flickr feed (public domain)