Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dodd, Obama and the Q poll

U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s advertising blitz hasn’t helped much.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll puts it this way: “Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd trails former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, a likely Republican challenger 48-39 percent in the 2010 Senate race, but he is inching up in his job approval to a negative 42-52 percent approval rating, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.”

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who has not poured money into advertising and outreach efforts to salvage support within the Democratic Party after his slide in the polls, is even-steven: The poll shows Lieberman with an approval-disapproval rating of 46-46. Dodd’s rating is 42-52 percent.

Dodd's slippage among independents, whose party affections are nil and whose ideology is eclectic, will be crucial in an election. Among independents, Dodd’s approval-disapproval rating is a near fatal 56–27 percent.

President Barack Obama’s approval-disapproval rating has fallen below that of Gov. Jodi Rell in Connecticut. The president's ratings are down to 63 percent from 71 percent in May.

The drop in support suggests Obama’s ideology is coming into focus with many voters.

Dodd may now be considered a polarizing figure, while Lieberman's contours are still fungible, an irritant to the left wing of his party. Obama's silhouette has been sharpened by the liberal programs he supports. Ditto Dodd.

Rich Lowry of National Review draws a bead on Obama’s purposes in a recent opinion piece:

Ramming through legislation without any assurance that it will work doesn’t seem pragmatic or farsighted. But for Obama’s purposes, it is. His goal is nothing short of an ideological reorientation of American government. Putting in place the structures to achieve this change in the power and role of government is more important than how precisely it is accomplished.

The stimulus might not do much to stimulate the economy during the recession, but its massive spending creates a new baseline for all future spending. The cap-and-trade bill might not reduce carbon emissions during the next decade, but it creates a mechanism for exerting government control over a huge swath of the economy. Obamacare might not work as advertised, but it will tip more people into government care and create the predicate for rationing and price controls.

Barack Obama is an ideologue in a hurry. He wants to put American government on a radically different path. And he wants to Do It Now.

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