So if its not money and its not messaging that has Democrats in a deep hole, what is it?
At a forum on health care reforms role in the campaign, Republican pollster Whit Ayres said, this election is a rejection of Democratic governance, just like 2006 and 2008 were a rejection of Republican governance.
Independents are particularly upset. Its not just health care. Its the auto bailout. Its the stimulus bill. Its the $1.3 trillion deficit ... The problem is not marketing. It is what [the Democrats] did. Its taking the country in a direction people didnt want it to go.
At the same event, sponsored by the journal Health Affairs, even Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg said the Obama administration and Congress seemed to get diverted from the publics No. 1 concern, the economy, to health care.
They made the big mistake in 2009 of thinking that the stimulus was going to bring back the economy. They didnt appreciate how difficult it would be. People thought the stimulus was just a one-shot and not a strategy.
The new Associated Press/Roper poll shows that, among likely voters, only 41 percent approve of Obamas handling of unemployment and only 33 percent think that his stimulus program improved the economy.
So how bad will it be? Personally, Id like to see a result that was seen as a rebuke to the tea party right and, indeed, regular Republicans such as Rep. Roy Blunt in Missouri, Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and Rob Portman in Ohio doing far better than tea party favorites Ken Buck in Colorado, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Joe Miller in Alaska.
But if the average, generic Republican lead in House races is 7 points and if Real Clear Politics is correct in forecasting a GOP pickup of perhaps 62 seats, the national wave likely will bring in all Republicans in close races, conceivably producing even a Republican Senate.
Then the question becomes: can anything get done in the next two years? The AP poll asked voters how they feel about politics. Fifty-eight percent are disgusted. Seventy-seven percent are disappointed. Seventy-nine percent frustrated. But a surprising 65 percent are hopeful.
Whoever gets elected had better resolve not to dash those hopes.
Roll Call has launched a new feature, Hill Navigator, to advise congressional staffers and would-be staffers on how to manage workplace issues on Capitol Hill. Please send us your questions anything from office etiquette, to handling awkward moments, to what happens when the work life gets too personal. Submissions will be treated anonymously.