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The Wave is Building

Anti-incumbent sentiment soars.

2:11 PM, Feb 12, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Pew: "The only recent midterm campaigns when anti-incumbent sentiment equaled its current levels were in 2006 and 1994 – which culminated in elections that changed the balance of power on Capitol Hill."

The Wave is Building

The survey goes on to note that the GOP remains unpopular, while Obama's approval rating remains higher than George W. Bush's and Bill Clinton's. For now.

For context, read the New York Times / CBS News poll, which found the president's approval rating at a new low and fewer than 10 percent of respondents willing to say that members of Congress deserve reelection.

Obama is caught in a vice. His agenda turns off conservatives and conservative-leaning independents. But his failure to pass that agenda turns off liberals and liberal-leaning independents. So he's left with hardly anybody.

Not only is the Obama agenda associated with big government -- an institution the public rejects in the Times poll by 56 to 34 percent. He is becoming associated with big business, as well.

Here, for example, is John Judis: "This interview shows that, in the choice between Main Street and Wall Street, his natural inclinations lie more toward one side—and it ain’t Main Street."

Why is this surprising? Obama has spent his entire adult life in elite institutions. Columbia. Harvard. The University of Chicago. The Illinois state legislature. The United States Senate. A presidential campaign where he raised gobs of cash from millionaire donors.

David Brooks notes that the administration's style has been "half Harvard Economics Department and half Boss Daley." Is there another combination as likely to turn off the majority of Americans?

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