The new Washington Post/ABC News poll is loaded with bad news for President Obama — more on that below — but for purposes of understanding this election, perhaps the most interesting finding is that Republicans overwhelmingly see their vote as an expression of opposition to the President, while pretty much every other group doesn’t see him as a factor.

The poll finds that 54 percent of voters — including 64 percent of independents and 63 percent of moderates — say Obama is “not a factor” in their vote.

But 62 percent of Republicans — and 67 percent of conservative Republicans — say a reason for their vote is to “express opposition to Obama.”

Obviously voters who say Obama is not a factor might still be influenced by disapproval of the president and/or his policies. But the high percentages of Republicans who flatly state that their vote is about Obama are pretty stark, and help explain GOP midterm strategy. The key to winning is all about getting out the base, even as core Dem voter groups like minorities, younger voters and single women drop off, helping ensure that the electorate is older and whiter than in presidential years. And one key to that — in a year that seems to fall somewhat short of the seismic levels of rage we saw in 2010 — is keeping Republicans and conservatives worked up about Obama.


That’s why GOP Senate candidates — not just in red states but in purple ones, too — continue robotically repeating that their Democratic opponents are nothing Rubber Stamps for the Obummer Agenda. It also helps explain why GOP operatives were hoping and praying that Obama would go forward with unilateral action on deportations, which would have put a debate over Obama and executive overreach in the news in the run-up to the elections.

Meanwhile, the poll also shows that GOP voter groups are indeed more revved up than Dem voter groups are. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans say they are absolutely certain to vote, including 77 percent of whites and 81 percent of voters over 65. By contrast, 66 percent of Democrats are absolutely certain to vote, including 54 percent of young voters and 56 percent of non-whites. Paging the Bannock Street Project!

* OBAMA’S NUMBERS IN THE TOILET: The WaPo/ABC poll also finds that Obama’s approval numbers are at 42-51; only 43 percent say he’s a strong leader; and 52 percent say Obama’s presidency is more of a failure than a success. Also, Aaron Blake has an interesting catch: Those “failure” numbers are partly driven by Democrats (25 percent of whom see failure) and liberals (29 percent say the same).


 * GOP LEADS IN GENERIC BALLOT: The WaPo/ABC poll also finds:

Asked whether they lean toward voting for the Democratic or Republican candidate for House in their district, 46 percent of registered voters say Democrat and 44 percent say Republican. Among likely voters, it is 47 percent Republican, 44 percent Democrat.

That three point GOP lead is trouble for Dems, but at this point in 2010, Republicans led by over seven points.

* OBAMA UNLIKELY TO SEEK WAR RESOLUTION: The President set to outline the case for broader action against ISIS, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be going to Congress:

Congressional leaders said late Monday that they do not expect the White House to ask for authorization for his new strategy, according to senior House and Senate aides.

* QUOTE OF THE DAY, PLAYING-POLITICS-WITH-WAR EDITION: GOP Rep. Jack Kingston, on why Congressional Republicans don’t want to vote on a resolution authorizing military action:

“Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long.”

Hey, that is a clever strategy! Thanks for your candor, Congressman.


* THE TOLL OF OBAMA’S DELAY ON DEPORTATIONS: Julia Preston has a terrific piece dramatizing the human toll of Obama’s decision to delay action to shield more people from deportation. As Preston writes: “For Seleste Wisniewski, a mother of four in Ohio…it means that her Mexican husband is likely to be deported in the coming days.”


The anger and betrayal immigration advocates feel in the wake of the announcement is entirely justified. However, Obama still has the option of doing something reasonably ambitious after the elections, and stories like this will intensify pressure on him to do so.

* DEM POLL SHOWS KAY HAGAN LEAD: A new poll from Dem pollster Geoff Garin finds that Dem Senator Kay Hagan has edged into a lead over GOP challenger Thom Tillis, 48-45. The poll also finds that Tillis’ negatives have risen, perhaps because of this:

By a 24-point margin, voters say that Tillis “went too far in cutting education as speaker of the House (52 percent say this is true, 28 percent not true). Fully 56 percent of North Carolina women agree this is true.

Obviously you should treat partisan polls with skepticism, but Dems do believe Tillis is extremely vulnerable on education, making the issue central to their final onslaught against him. The polling average has the race tied.

* AND A SENATE RACE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT: The DSCC is up with a remarkable new ad slamming Michigan GOP Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land over a local environmental story: Koch Industries’ role in producing piles of petroleum coke along the Detroit River. It’s another sign that the Michigan Senate race, to perhaps a greater degree than any other in the country, is about the environment, thanks to special conditions there.

What else?