The tea leaves do not look great for Democrats, though there could be some turnover in primaries -- provided strong challengers emerge.
Peter Grier writes at The Christian Science Monitor:
A new Associated Press/GfK poll demonstrates his residual personal appeal. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said Mr. Obama is very or somewhat likeable. That’s an increase of nine percentage points since the end of the partial government shutdown in mid-October.
But there’s a cliché about where nice guys finish. Hint: It’s not first. That’s reflected in AP’s numbers, in that only 31 percent find Obama to be an outstanding or above average president. Forty-two percent rate his presidency as below-average or poor. Twenty-five percent say it's average.
A just-released CBS survey contains numbers that are better for Obama, but only just. It shows Americans almost exactly split on his merits, with 46 percent approving of Obama’s job performance, and 47 percent disapproving.
RealClearPolitics political analyst Sean Trende crunches the numbers on this in a long piece that’s attracting attention among experts at the moment. In short, Mr. Trende says there’s a relationship between the level of presidential approval and the vote share of the president’s party in congressional races. Applying Obama’s current numbers to the 2014 electoral landscape produces a mild surprise, says Trende: Right now it’s possible, even likely, that Republicans will win control of the Senate.Gallup reports:
Consistent with abysmally low congressional approval ratings and widespread dissatisfaction with the nation's system of government, the proportion of registered voters saying Congress deserves re-election has hit an all-time low of 17%. While Congress as an institution is no stranger to voter disenchantment, American voters are usually more charitable in their assessments of their own representatives in the national legislature. But even this has fallen to a new trough.
Typically, results like these have presaged significant turnover in Congress, such as in 1994, 2006, and 2010. So Congress could be headed for a major shake-up in its membership this fall.
However, unlike those three years, when one party controlled both houses of Congress, the beneficiary of the anti-incumbent sentiment is not clear in the current situation, in which one party controls the House and the other, the Senate. Partisans on both sides of the aisle are displeased with Congress. But with so few voters saying they are willing to re-elect their own representative, it suggests that many officeholders will be vulnerable, if not in the general election, then perhaps in the host of competitive primaries soon to take place.