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News Analysis: Trends could spell trouble for U.S. Democrats in midterm elections

English.news.cn   2014-03-14 05:51:04

By Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, March 13 (Xinhua) -- A number of trends could spell trouble for Democrats in the run-up to November's midterm Congressional elections - from voter turnout to jobs to the recently implemented healthcare overhaul.

A Gallup poll released Thursday found that jobs, the economy and dissatisfaction with government top the list of concerns facing the country, with 19 percent of respondents naming unemployment or jobs, 18 percent citing dissatisfaction with government, and 17 percent pointing to the economy in general.

That could be bad for Democrats come November's elections if the Democratic administration is viewed as being responsible for what some economists described as the most sluggish recovery in the post-war era.

Indeed, the jobless rate has been high for most of U.S. President Barack Obama's time in office. There are millions of workforce dropouts -- those who have given up seeking work out of sheer frustration -- and many economists are saying that Obama's healthcare overhaul, or Obamacare, will raise healthcare costs for the middle class.

Of those issues, Obamacare has garnered the most headlines in recent months.

"This election is not about the myriad of problems facing the Republican party but instead is about President Obama and the Affordable Care Act," wrote the Cook Political Report on Wednesday.

Moreover, Democrats will not be able to rely on Obama's soaring rhetoric and uplifting speeches, as turnout for Congressional elections usually consists of high information voters for whom candidates' personality - or the personality of party leaders - takes a back seat.

Other trends will also pose a hurdle, as Democrats typically deal with low turnout among their base during Congressional elections. The Democratic candidate's loss in Tuesday's special congressional election in Florida underscored this, some experts said.

Luckily for Democrats, the party is ahead by a hair in Real Clear Politics' most recent generic ballot poll - 0.6 percent - but candidates will need to work overtime to keep that advantage.

Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua that the best thing Democrats can do is to keep growing the economy. The more unemployment drops, the better off they will be.

"Republicans want to keep the focus on Obamacare, knowing that it is not very popular and that it creates major problems for Democrats in many parts of the country," West said.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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