Low fundraising totals and declining poll numbers suggest that voters are experiencing strong feelings of buyer’s remorse toward the Republican majority in Congress.
According to a USA Today report, 43 of the 65 freshman Republicans who captured Democratic-held seats in the 2010 elections saw their fundraising dip in the last quarter. Furthermore, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee enjoyed a massive fundraising surge in September, raising $6.6 million and greatly outpacing the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, which raised only $3.8 million.
According to DCCC head Steve Israel, these fundraising results suggest that Democrats are well on their way to winning the 25 seats they would need to reclaim control of the House of Representatives.
“A deep sense of buyer’s remorse has set in across the country toward Republicans,” said Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., who oversees House campaign efforts for Democrats. “I can’t guarantee that we’ll take the House back in 2012, but it will be razor close.”
Israel’s optimism is supported by a new Public Policy Polling survey, which shows that voters are very unhappy with House Republicans. According to the poll, only 37 percent of voters think that Republicans have done a better job in the majority than their Democratic predecessors, compared with 41 percent who believe they’ve made things worse.
Among the crucial independent voters who fueled the Republican surge in 2010, only 26 percent believe the Republicans improved things, compared to 37 percent who believe they’ve made things worse.
The contentious debt ceiling debate likely contributed to both the Republicans’ declining fundraising and polling numbers. Voters primarily blamed Congressional Republicans for the crisis, and the Chamber of Commerce — usually a top donor base for Republicans — was reportedly upset over the GOP’s willingness to risk America’s financial future in a political battle.
Although voters are clearly unhappy with congressional Republicans, it remains unclear whether or not Democrats can take advantage. Despite the Republicans’ low poll numbers and fundraising totals, Republicans and Democrats are tied at 45 percent in PPP’s generic congressional ballot, and congressional Democrats are almost as unpopular as their Republican counterparts.
At this point, it appears voters don’t care about party affiliation any more; they just want Congress to finally do something productive.