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NYT Analyst: Is GOP Generic Ballot Lead the New Normal?

12:50 PM, Aug 31, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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It would be difficult for any strong partisan to admit that such an accomplishment was sodeeply unpopular. Yet the polling is pretty unequivocal on the relationship between the Democrats' fortunes and the health care bill. It was during the health care debate that the essential building block of the Democratic majority - Independent voters - began to crumble. It was evident in the generic ballot. It was evident in the President's job approval numbers. It was evident in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

Vulnerable Democrats seem to understand this better than the talking-points authors in Washington. North Virginian Rep. Gerry Connolly, head of the freshman House class of '08, conceded today that health care is a problem:

"I think that the focus of the public, with stubborn unemployment remaining so high, was on the growing the economy and creating jobs," Connolly said Tuesday during an appearance on TBD TV in metropolitan Washington. "And anything else seemed like a distraction."

It has already proven dangerous for Democrats to underestimate the displeasure with government's processes and excesses (the very ones Obama was supposed to fix) created by the passage of Obamacare, especially among independent voters. The dismal economy will certainly be a large part of the losses they incur, but ignoring the new level of disgust Obamacare has wrought will only serve to bolster the GOP's newfound edge.

The new normal is not merely an accident of the economy, and the election is not merely an anti-incumbent fervor that happens to be afflicting Democrats. They're paying a price for their actions, not just their circumstances.

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