May 13, 2010 -- Democrats, especially incumbents, could be in for a very tough fight in November's midterm elections as Americans increasingly switch their support to the Republican Party, according to a new poll.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll released today found that voters were split over which party they preferred to have a majority in Congress, with 44 percent favoring Democrats and 44 percent Republicans; 12 percent said they weren't sure. But 56 percent of those Americans who said they were most interested in the midterm elections supported Republicans, and 36 percent backed Democrats, "the highest gap all year on that question," according to the poll.
The White House and Democrats are "acutely aware" of the sentiment in the country, said Democratic strategist James Carville on "Good Morning America" today, and it's "absolutely possible" that Democrats could lose control of Congress.
"It's not good," Carville said. "The Democrats need a strategy to re-energize some of their voters."
"I think there's a real problem here for Democrats," Buchanan said on "GMA." "What's motivating these voters is this huge debt that we have, this increasing deficit, the incredible unwillingness for Washington to get control of this spending."
"People are unnerved by this," she said. "They pull in their belts, and communities and states are pulling in theirs, Washington just keeps spending as [if] that's the only solution. You can't solve that in the next six months."
Both Republican and Democratic incumbents have already experienced that fervor firsthand.
On Tuesday, Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., lost the primary battle for a 15th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first incumbent to fall in a campaign aimed at Washington. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, the state's only Democratic representative in Congress, did not win enough votes to avoid a primary challenge from a retired schoolteacher who has never run for Congress. Matheson never had to partake in a primary before.
On the GOP front, three-term senator Bob Bennett lost in Utah's GOP convention to a tea party activist. Bennett came under fire for supporting the Wall Street bailout and a bipartisan bill mandating health insurance coverage.
Americans are rejecting the "old establishment" and want to see "new fresh faces" in the Republican Party, Buchanan said.
"America is not interested in bringing back what we gave them for eight years," she said. "They want real new faces, new energy, new leadership in this country."
Carville, like other Democrats, hopes that positive employment numbers will continue to come in the next few months and help narrow the margin between Democratic and Republican supporters.
"There's some evidence that this gap is starting to tighten slightly, but it's going to have to do more than tighten slightly," said Carville.
In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published today, senior adviser to former President George W. Bush Karl Rove predicted the White House will raise "Democratic intensity" in the months ahead to garner more votes. But Rove had a warning message for Democrats.
"While a lot will play out over the next six months, there's no question good Republican candidates running effective races will make this a memorable, perhaps even epic, election for the GOP," he wrote. "Obama Democrats should beware."