Lay of the Land


As you know, this afternoon the House passed the Democratic Stimulus package with a sprinkling of Democratic defections and no Republican votes. From the standpoint of political accountability, if nothing else, this clarifies things. If the public ends up judging this a success or a failure, they’ll have little doubt who to punish or reward for the decision.

But let’s step back and take stock of what the public appears to be seeing.

This afternoon, Diageo/Hotline released the second part of its recent poll (Jan. 21/24), which leaves little doubt about the public mood.

Now that Democrats control both the White House and both Houses of Congress, Democrats in Congress currently find themselves as beneficiaries of President Obama’s high favorability and job approval ratings.

Specifically, The Diageo/Hotline Poll of 800 registered voters conducted by FD from January 21-24, 2009, finds that 49% of voters say they approve of the job Democrats in Congress are doing, while only 26% of voters who approve of the job Republicans in Congress are doing.

And, while the 111th Congress has been in session barely three weeks, the Poll finds that the Democratic candidate leads the Republican candidate 46% – 22% in a generic 2010 congressional election match-up, with 27% of voters saying they are undecided.

So, President Obama is extremely popular. The Stimulus Bill is pretty popular. Hill Democrats are reasonably popular. And Hill Republicans are deep in Bush unpopularity territory, as much as they now try to distance themselves from the man they once wrapped their party around.

It grated on a lot of people — and I include myself — to see Obama going every extra length to cater to Republican nonsense. But it’s left little question who was doing what. One benefit the Republicans carry out of the 2008 election is that most of the remaining Republicans come from districts that are so red that it’s hard for Democrats to ever contest them. But not all of them. And in a lot the industrial Midwest especially, the GOP is the party of ‘no’.


Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of