The Hill: Poll: Looming anti-Obama midterm vote may not carry through to 2012

A majority of voters see the midterm election as a referendum on Barack Obama, but most have not decided whether they’ll vote against the president in 2012, according to a poll by The Hill.

Seventy percent of respondents in The Hill’s latest survey of 10 battleground districts said their feelings about President Obama will play an important role in how they vote on Nov. 2.

That tracks closely with polling conducted by The Hill in other districts across the country during the past three weeks, where 69 percent of voters said Obama would affect their choices on Election Day.

The focus on Obama was high among voters in both parties; 47 percent of Republicans in the latest poll said Obama would be a very important factor in their vote, while 46 percent of Democrats said the same thing.

Yet 54 percent of those polled said Republicans winning back control of Congress this year would have no impact on their vote in 2012. An even higher number of independents, 62 percent, said a Republican Congress would have no impact on their vote for president in 2012.

The results point to a paradox of the 2010 election: While it is clear voters worried about government spending and record deficits want to put a brake on the Obama administration, they do not appear to have given up on the president.

“The results indicate voters want to see Obama move to the center and work more with Republicans, particularly on spending”, said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the survey.

While Penn said that the 2010 election is “in many ways” a referendum on Obama, he added: “Voters didn’t see any direct correlation between who holds Congress and who they’ll vote for president.”

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The Hill: Poll: Midterm blowout: 50 or more Dem seats set to fall in the election

Republicans are headed for a blowout election win that seems certain to seize more than enough seats to knock out the Democrats and take control of the House.

The Hill 2010 Midterm Election poll, surveying nearly 17,000 likely voters in 42 toss-up districts over four weeks, points to a massive Republican wave that, barring an extraordinary turnaround, will deliver crushing nationwide defeats for President Obama’s party.

The data suggest a GOP pickup that could easily top 50 seats (the party needs 39 for control of the House).

Of the 42 districts polled for The Hill, all but two of which are currently Democratic, 31 had Republicans in the lead. Democrats were up in just seven, and four were tied. In addition, there are some 15 Democratic districts that are so far into the GOP win column that they weren’t polled. That would suggest at least 46 GOP pickups, plus whatever the party gets out of another 40 or 50 seats that some experts believe are in play.

“We didn’t even poll in about 15 districts that are already too far gone for Democrats,” said Mark Penn, whose firm, Penn Schoen Berland, conducted the poll. “So that, along with our entire series of polls, points to something in the range of a 50-seat gain for Republicans.”

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The Hill: Poll: GOP tsunami ready to sweep the South


Nowhere are Democrats more clearly threatened with heavy defeat than in the South.

Nov. 2 looks set to reverse a trend of recent elections that suggested the blue party might claw its way back in states dominated for a generation by the GOP.

The Hill’s polling shows senior Democrats in the South, who survived earlier Republican waves, poised to fall in next week’s predicted GOP sweep.
In 42 competitive districts polled in four weeks by The Hill, white Southern Democrats face stronger headwinds than any of their colleagues.

Democrats hold 59 Southern House seats and could lose a dozen of them — helping Republicans toward the net gain of 39 they need for control of the House.

“It’s fair to say that Democrats will be devastated in the South,” said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, who conducted the poll. “I think the strongest deficits the Democrats are facing are in the South and in the Midwest.”

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Mark Penn discusses the outlook for the Midterm elections on Bloomberg’s “InBusiness” [VIDEO]

Mark Penn talks about the outlook for the U.S. midterm elections and the challenges that may face President Barack Obama if Republicans hold a majority in Congress. Penn speaks with Margaret Brennan on Bloomberg Television’s “InBusiness.”

Watch the video at Bloomberg.com

The Hill: Poll: Majority says no ‘change’ under Obama, or change for the worse


A majority of voters in key battleground races say President Obama has either brought no change to Washington or has brought change for the worse.

In 10 competitive House districts, 41 percent of likely voters say Obama has brought change for the worse, and 30 percent say he has made no difference.

Almost two years after Obama declared on election night that “change has come to America,” only 26 percent believe he’s delivered on his promise to end business-as-usual in the capital.
Strikingly, 63 percent of voters under the age of 34 said the president either has not changed Washington or has made it worse.

In 2008, voters under the age of 30 voted 2-to-1 for Obama against his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). But in The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll, only 34 percent of young people say the president has effected change for the better.

The poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland and surveyed 4,276 voters in 10 House districts held by two-term Democrats. The margin of error is plus or minus 1.5 percent.

“All change is not good change, and the voters are expressing overall dissatisfaction with the direction of change so far,” said pollster Mark Penn of the findings.

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Mark Penn and Karen Hughes discuss the key trends of the 2010 Midterm Elections at George Washington University [VIDEO]

Political strategists Mark Penn and Karen Hughes spoke about the 2010 midterm election campaign, prospects for a Republican takeover in Congress, key races in various parts of the country, and significant national issues in the elections. They also responded to questions from the audience.

Watch the video at C-SPAN.org

The Hill: Poll: Speaker Pelosi’s ‘majority makers’ are facing possible electoral doom


Two-term Democrats, whose victories helped secure the Speaker’s job for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), are facing the possibility of a near-wipeout in the Nov. 2 election.

Of 10 reelection races involving sophomore Democrats, Republican challengers are ahead in six and tied in two more, according to The Hill 2010 Midterm Election Poll.


The fact that these Democrats, dubbed “majority makers” by Pelosi, are in jeopardy is a clear indication that the GOP has a good chance to run the House again after four years in the minority.

Of 32 battleground districts polled so far by The Hill this fall, Democrats are leading in only three, with four races tied. Republicans are ahead in 25.

Thirty of the 32 seats surveyed are now held by Democrats.

“Out of the 10 districts of the second-term incumbents, only one of them is outside the margin of error,” said pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the poll. “So virtually every one of these incumbents remains vulnerable.”

A majority of voters in all 10 districts had a negative opinion of Obama. Overall, 69 percent of voters said their views of the president will be very or somewhat important when they cast their ballots — a bad sign for Democrats.

There is still a large pool of undecided voters, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing for the Democrats, as most, Penn added, “typically will swing against an incumbent in these situations.”

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Politico: Poll: Dems seen as party of negativity and ideas

By MARK PENN
October 18, 2010

Most things in politics are cyclical. The two parties trade power, popular support, and even politicians as regularly as the seasons.

One exception to this rule, however, is party reputation. For years, Republicans have been seen as the party of negativity—the party of innuendo and attack ads, the group with the hatchetmen on speed dial. That’s why it’s so surprising that, for the first time in recent memory, voters now perceive the Democrats as more negative than the GOP.

View the full results from Penn Schoen Berland’s poll, the fourth of six in Politico’s “Power and the People” poll series

According to the latest POLITICO poll, 34 percent of Americans think the Democrats have been the most negative party during this election cycle, vs. 23 percent who say Republicans and 15 percent who name the Tea Party. Though on the surface this looks like a pretty dubious distinction for Democratic leadership, in reality it is not such a bad thing. It says the Democratic Party has a lot of fight in it during this critical year, and is no longer willing to be taken down by tough Republican campaigns. After all, since Lee Atwater the GOP has been benefitting from campaigns that were devastatingly effective despite being highly unpopular. The Republicans were seen as the kings of negativity by a ratio of nearly 2 to 1.

What’s doubly interesting, however, is that the Democrats were also seen as the party of ideas: 31 percent of the public (and 46 percent of DC Elites) think they’ve offered better ideas for how to govern this year, whereas only 22 percent of Americans say the same about the Republicans, and the Tea Party slides in third with only 16 percent support. Somewhat paradoxically, the Democrats have managed to appear both more negative, and more idea-oriented, than their opponents at the same time.

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The Huffington Post: Who Will Win the Midterms?

By MARK PENN
Published October 18, 2010

As we head into the midterms it is increasingly clear that there will be no winners on election night given the massive discontent of the electorate almost across the board. Even if the Republicans have a good night, it will not be an endorsement of the Tea Party any more than 2008 was an endorsement of the progressive left. It will be another cycle in the game of ping pong being played out by an increasingly non-partisan, centrist electorate given too little choice — or, worse yet, given false choices.

The problem is that the successful strategies of the two wings of the parties, particularly as the parties have been shrinking, have driven both parties closer to the extremes. Think about the math of it — if the Republican Party is, say, 26% of the country and the most conservative elements of the party are 14%, then 14% can end up governing not just a minority party but the entire country.

At the root of the discontent is the desire to have practical, not ideological, solutions to intractable problems. In most cases, the voters oppose single-sided solutions that entirely reject one party’s ideas, and favor instead approaches that combine the best of each platform. No, not soft, watered down approaches, but strong, comprehensive solutions such as we’ve seen in the past with the balanced budget accord and Welfare reform.

Read the Full Article at the Huffington Post

Mark Penn and Karen Hughes discuss the state of digital communications in politics at the 2010 BlogWorld & New Media Expo [VIDEO]

Highlight from the 2010 BlogWorld & New Media Expo keynote speech with Mark Penn and Karen Hughes discussing the state of digital communications and social media in politics.

Watch the video on the BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2010 YouTube channel

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