Jobs and spending revolt

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The American Action Network released a poll on the special election race to replace the deceased Rep. John Murtha. It showed that the Republican was in a virtual tie with the Democrat in a solidly Democratic district. That’s of interest to Republicans, but the real message is to Congressional Democrats: The change voters wanted is not the change you’ve delivered—and they are ready to change again.

What is going on this district is similar to what is going on in other districts around the country: A jobs-and-spending revolt.

The American people want policies that create jobs in the private sector. What they don’t want is wasteful spending that grows the government at the expense of the people. The president has spent a lot of political capital, and an enormous amount of time and energy, on health. He’s now got Wall Street regulation in his sights, with immigration reform and cap and trade on the horizon. And that diverted focus on what matters most to folks—a good job and not burying this country in debt-is seeding a revolt in even hard-core Democrat Congressional districts, such as Pennsylvania’s 12th, that Murtha represented for over three decades.

Again, keep in mind, this district has elected a Democrat to Congress for generations. The survey shows, that while Republicans are obviously opposed to the president and his allies, they are joined in that opposition by many Democrats who have lost faith in the leadership of their Democratic Party.

For example, Nancy Pelosi’s approval rating among Catholic Democrats is 30 percent. Sixty-eight percent of all Democrats disapprove of the job she is doing.

Fifty-three percent of Democrats in this district disapprove of the job the president is doing, and if you include all voters, the numbers climbs to a stunning 68 percent.

Sixty-one percent of the voters in this overwhelmingly Democratic district think that the country is going off in the wrong direction, which could be explained by the fact that 77 percent of those surveyed know somebody who has lost a job. Vice President Joe Biden, who has written off coal power as a critical energy source for the future, is hugely unpopular in this district, and the survey found that 61 percent of the voters would be less likely to vote for the Democrat if Biden campaigned for him, while only 7 percent would be more likely to vote for him.

Seventy-five percent of those surveyed agreed with the assertion, “Washington, D.C., isn’t listening to people like me, and I am going to send them a message with my vote.” When the question was put to them, would like to vote for someone like John Murtha or would you like a fresh start, the fresh start won 63-34, not a good sign for the Democratic contender who used to work for Murtha.

Obamacare is none too popular. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed disapprove to the law, and the same 57 percent would vote to repeal it (which could explain the Democrat in the race is now saying he would have voted against it had he had the chance).

And to this question, “Would you prefer to vote for a Democratic representative who will have President Obama pass his agenda in Congress or a Republican representative who will act as a check to the president’s agenda?” the Republican who would act as a check won in the survey 52-40.

This cannot be good news for Congressional Democrats.

We can draw some interesting conclusion about the state of nation in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. These folks don’t like where the country is going, they don’t like what Congress is doing, they don’t like where the president is leading, they don’t like and don’t want the president’s health care law, they do want to repeal it, they all know somebody who lost their job, they are worried about, and they are likely to vote for someone who will act as a check on Democratic over-reaching.

It is too early to tell exactly how this will all play out next November. Much can happen between over the next seven months. But certain attitudes start getting set in stone.

The American Action Network did this survey because we support center-right policies and those candidates who will support those policies. It is our view that we live in a center-right country, that the majority of Americans want policies that promote free enterprise, a vibrant democracy, limited yet effective government, responsible spending and a strong national defense. We believe in American exceptionalism, that our country has a special role to play in this world. So, we did this survey because it gives us the opportunity to see what is on the mind of the American people, even in a district that has been as reliably Democratic as this one.

The degree of disaffection we found by Democrat voters with their leadership and its agenda is startling. The folks in this Congressional district, even though they have voted reliably Democratic in the past, are ready for a fresh start and are ready to vote for a candidate who will promote center-right policies.

Democrats ought to take note. They may be trying to lead, but the people are not ready to follow leaders that seek to move the country to the left. They are revolting against the misplaced priorities of this administration and its Congressional allies. They want common-sense conservative policies that will create jobs and cut spending. What they don’t want is the higher debt and more wasteful government. If this administration doesn’t turn its focus to jobs and the economy, it’s going to have a lot fewer allies in Congress after this November.

Former Sen. Norm Coleman is CEO of the American Action Network. Fred Malek is the Chairman of the American Action Network.