Voter Anger Could Doom Democrats in Fall Elections

Government distrust is high and voters are angry, a new survey shows.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

A new Pew Research Center poll shows anger might be the dominant emotion voters have at the polls this November, and that the party in power may feel massive repercussions as a result. As CNN reports

According to a Pew Research Center poll released this week, based on polling conducted in March and April, a growing segment of the American public holds intense anti-government views, with those surveyed describing themselves as being angry with the federal government.

The reason? A "perfect storm of conditions associated with distrust of government--a dismal economy, an unhappy public, bitter partisan-based backlash, and epic discontent with Congress and elected officials," the report concluded.

You'd have to have crawled up into a cave in order not to have experienced this public anger. Tea Party protests are but one aspect of it. It seems anger emanates from all quarters these days--conservative Republicans upset over federal spending for the poor and on health care reform, a ballooning deficit, and federal handouts that they see as profligate spending. But even liberals are angry: at a president they supported to get the United States out of war--not more deeply involved in Afghanistan--and at a president who pledged to close down Guantanamo.

The Democratic party thinks it has one weapon not yet copied by the GOP: It is running more women for office this November than its rival, according to CBS News:

As Democrats head into what is expected to be a tough election year for them, the party says it has a solid lead over Republicans in one respect--its number of women candidates.

Seeking to ding the GOP on the issue, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is pointing to the National Republican Congressional Committee's "Young Guns" program, which provides support for Republicans challenging Democratic incumbents or running for open seats. There are more than 100 candidates in the program, and eight of them are women.

Running more women alone is not the answer. Running centrist women who can lure independents and some Republicans into the fold is. But the GOP's "Young Guns" program is a macho, meshuganeh (Yiddish for eccentric or foolish) mess. Yes, it will drive more Christian, gun-loving extremists on the right to the polls. But it will alienate independents and centrists.

Who knows. Maybe like many mid-term elections, even a poorly-framed message by the GOP won’t harm the party. The Democrats are bound to suffer a rollicking backlash against their major win in ’08. The question now is, how much ground will Democrats lose?