Voters are angry and many are warming up to the Republican Party's “Pledge to America,” but polls show that doesn't necessarily portend big wins for the party next month.
As the election approaches and voter attitudes harden, predictions are getting murkier as a slew of new polls shows sometimes contradictory attitudes at play among the restive electorate.
The White House is carefully monitoring outside polling — press secretary Robert Gibbs mentions it frequently — but maintains Democrats can keep control of Congress.
“We want to ensure that what's been referred to appropriately as the 'enthusiasm gap' is closed,” Gibbs said. “Certainly a number of national polls shows that that is indeed happening.”
Even so, President Obama in recent days has intensified his rhetoric against the Republicans' “Pledge to America,” a set of principles reminiscent of the party's 1994 “Contract with America,” that GOP leaders unveiled with great ceremony last month.
“When you actually take the time to read it, it turns out that they are peddling the same snake oil they were before,” Obama said. “There is a fundamental lack of seriousness in terms of how they want to move this country forward.”
The latest Republican blueprint calls for blocking tax increases, repealing health care reform, setting budget caps, funding missile defense and reducing the deficit, among other things.
A new Bloomberg News poll found 48 percent of likely voters think the pledge is a good idea; 39 percent think it's a bad idea.
While the results suggest a boost for Republicans, the same Bloomberg poll found 49 percent of likely voters have an unfavorable view of the GOP, even more than the 45 percent who have a negative view of Democrats.
At the same time, the poll found 42 percent of those who were once Obama supporters are either less supportive or no longer support him, according to Bloomberg.
But worst of all for the president, 64 percent said they believe the country is on the wrong track — a startlingly high result for the question many pollsters regard as the gold standard in tracking voter attitudes.
Along the same lines, 85 percent in a recent ABC News/Yahoo! News poll said they are either angry or dissatisfied about the state of the economy.
Gary Langer, pollster for ABC News, noted that 12 percent of Democrats said they are angry about the economy, while 30 percent of independents and 41 percent of Republicans said so.
Langer, of Langer Research Associates, called the findings “extraordinary” because so many are expressing strong emotions this election season.
On CBS News on Tuesday morning, former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said the churn in the electorate, the rise of the Tea Party movement and voter dissatisfaction all show the system is working.
“To me this is an affirmation of the greatness and the genius of our founders,” Huckabee said. “They created America to be a self-cleaning oven, so that when things get really nasty and the politicians gunk it up, the citizens can turn up the heat.”