Preview for 2010 Elections

Elections tomorrow will have a large impact, reflecting America’s political mindset at the mid-term mark of President Obama’s career.


Kathryn Watson, Writer

No matter what their political stances are, analysts all agree — with satisfaction of the government and nation’s direction at historic lows, Nov. 2 is sure to be an interesting day for America.

Historic low ratings

Traditionally, the majority party loses votes in times when satisfaction is below about 40 percent, which means Democrats have to be on the defensive. A Gallup poll revealed last week that satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. is, at 21 percent, the lowest it has ever been in a midterm election year since the institution began tracking satisfaction. Approval of Congress is also decidedly low at just 21 percent.


Perhaps the biggest focus for both Republicans and Democrats is Congress, in which Republicans are expected to gain a significant number of seats. Some Republican leaders have expressed a desire to overturn Obama’s health care bill given a Republican majority. The New York Times’ political pages forecast as many as 111 seats in play in the House, with 174 solidly leaning Republican and 150 leaning solidly Democrat. While some analysts think Republicans have a fair shot at winning the Senate also, the Senate remains Democrat-leaning with 46 seats solid and continuing Democrat and 35 seats solid and continuing Republican. The Times estimates that 19 seats are in play there.

Tea Party

At the same time, the rise of the self-named Tea party has altered politics significantly. Although those affiliated with the movement say it isn’t a designated party, it has proven its power in elections already in the primary elections. Tea party-backed candidates saw wins in the House and Senate, and Tea party movements have contributed to the conservative outpouring at the polls. But some have also warned that overconfidence might be the downfall of conservative politicians.

In California

In California, Prop 19, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use, has drawn much press and commentary. Youths especially have turned out to express their support for the measure.

The Senate race between incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer and leading opponent, Republican Carly Fiorina, has drawn national attention due to the longtime nature of Boxer’s position. Recent polls show Boxer pulling ahead of Fiorina by several points.
Former Ebay CEO Meg Whitman, a Republican, is taking on Democrat Jerry Brown, who was governor in California between 1975 and 1983.

Absentee votes

Analysts are also commenting on the high percentage of absentee voters. In the West, Gallup found the 60 percent of respondents either voted early or were planning on voting early. Taking into account the entire United States, more than a quarter of voters polled said they were planning on voting early or already had. Still, some are in an uproar over the delay in mailing absentee ballots to troops. As of last year, ballots are requires to be sent to troops 45 days before elections. However, in some states, that requirement was ignored by several days or even weeks.

The economy

At the time of the midterm elections, 69 percent of Americans have cited the economy as the nation’s more important problem, according to Gallup. Many Republican and Tea Party candidates have cited the economy as their top priority should they reach office.

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