GOP House majority must be wary of ‘cranky electorate,’ consultant says

A political memo by a GOP consultant this week said a takeover of the House is all but assured, but warned that voters are “extremely cranky” and that House Republicans should keep in mind that how they behave in the majority will play a big role in whether President Obama gets reelected or not.

“As they begin to govern, Republicans will need to keep in mind that their favorability is under 50 percent,” wrote Sara Taylor Fagen, a former White House political director for President George W. Bush. “The electorate is extremely cranky and will likely remain this way for some time.”

To maintain control of the House, Fagen wrote, a Republican majority must realize that voters “will be slow to trust and quick to discard people they perceive as typical politicians.”

And, Fagen said, a House Republican majority will need to navigate carefully between a crafty White House – which will be eager to hand them responsibility for the economy and highlight any unwillingness to compromise – and the conservative grassroots, which is in no mood for bipartisan cooperation.

“Looking ahead to 2012, the national economy and the GOP’s choice of nominee will be the most important factors in the presidential race, but House Republicans will also have an impact on the party’s chance to win the presidency,” Fagen wrote in the three-page memo. “How the party positions itself both when working with and against the president will be a significant factor in whether or not a Republican can win in 2012.”

Fagen pointed out that while Obama’s favorability has dropped, “it’s at 45 percent, not 35 percent.”

“Today, President Obama would lose reelection. But, next year, he could easily be back above 50 percent.”

While much of Fagen’s memo focused on the House and Senate – she gives Republicans a “less than 50 percent” chance of taking the Senate – she said that the biggest impact of the 2010 midterm elections could be in state legislatures.

“We shouldn’t overlook what is likely to be the largest power shift at the state level in nearly a century,” Fagen said, predicting that Republicans will gain between 300 to 500 seats in state legislatures.

Fagen said that the GOP could take control of the Alabama House and Senate, the Colorado House, the Indiana House, the Iowa House, the Maine Senate, the Michigan House, the New Hampshire House and Senate, the New York Senate, the North Carolina Senate, the Ohio House, the Pennsylvania House, and the Wisconsin House and Senate.

The makeup of state legislatures is especially important because after the 2010 Census, congressional districts will be redrawn based on new population statistics.

Texas will gain four House seats, Arizona will gain two, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Nevada, and Oregon will gain one, Ohio will lose two, and Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts will all lose one.

But Democrats do have one bright spot. “They could control the governor’s mansions in four of the five largest states,” Fagen wrote, referring to New York, California, Florida and Ohio, though she said she thinks Republican John Kasich will unseat Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.

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  • DailyDish

    When will these stupid politicians get it right…I am not CRANKY…I AM PISSED! Big difference.

  • independentvoter

    They are NOT cranky.. you have to prove yourself to be trustworthy.. get it right..

  • Swen

    Interesting analysis, but there seems to be some misapprehension that the cranky electorate might also be fickle enough to turn back to the Democrats if Republicans pursue business as usual. I’d suggest that we cranky citizens aren’t that stupid. Rather, we’re well aware that there are plenty of Republicans who will wish to return to business as usual except with their sticky fingers on the federal checkbook.

    We realize that this election and removing the Democrats from power is just the first step toward creating a new, smaller and more fiscally responsible government. The next step is to rid ourselves of the RINOs, an effort that will largely take place in the next couple rounds of primaries. It’s going to take at least two more election cycles to clean house in the Senate and probably that long before the RINOs and Democrats finally get the message. We *know* that and, unlike many on the left, we understand the concept of delayed gratification. We know it’s taken many years to get into this mess and it will take years to turn things around.

    That’s the trajectory I see here. How Republicans behave in the majority will have a lot to do with whether individual Republicans are reelected in the next round of primaries or replaced with more fiscally responsible Republicans. There’s also the distinct possibility that where we fail to replace RINOs in the primaries we’ll support fiscally responsible Democrats (a species currently more rare than skittle-sh*ting unicorns, but likely to reappear if conditions are right).

    But bottom line — I doubt very much that we’ll lose our minds and reelect Obama or turn back to unrepentant Democrats in some fit of pique because we didn’t achieve everything we wanted in this election cycle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryce-Edward-Johnston/1249102418 Bryce Edward Johnston

    If the GOP thinks we are “cranky” now, wait until they get organized after the election and take over the House and start having amnesia about how they got there!!!!

    • truebearing

      We the people shall function as their memory, as was intended by the founders. We the people fell asleep at the wheel and forgot we are responsible for maintaining our freedom. We have to stay involved, “cranky” if you will, and not forfeit power to the politicians. Thay get their power at our behest.

  • dandapani

    voters “will be slow to trust and quick to discard people they perceive as typical politicians.”

    Amen and amen. Or should I say Aum!

  • aaarrrggg

    They should be careful.
    This long time liberal Independant has already voted.
    Switched my registration to no party and voted against most incumbants.
    It is time for real change.
    I cast votes this time I never thought I would.