After the November, 2008 elections the Republican Party was virtually given up for dead. The Democrats had not only captured the White House but added a few dozen seats to their House of Representatives majority and moved toward a filibuster proof 60 seats in the United States Senate. To those of us with long memories, it looked a lot like the mid-1960’s where the Republicans clout was at a low not seen since the 1930’s.
In recent weeks, things have changed and radically. The GOP won Governor’s races in Virginia and New Jersey and our new president’s honeymoon with both the press and the American public seems to be coming to an end. Some poll numbers are very telling:
According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 51% of Americans disapprove of his handling of the deficit. Gallup found that his job approval rating is 49%; it’s lowest yet. And, only 19% of voters believe that Mr. Obama’s health care reform will not add to the deficit as he is claiming. (That may be lower than those of us who believe in the Easter Bunny)
Incredibly, the party considered dead 12 months ago has, according to Gallup, a four point lead of 48-44% of those who identify as generic Republicans over Democrats. A year ago, the Democrats had a commanding 12 point lead with that statistic that most of us thought could only widen. Independent voters caused the generic shift and they now favor Republicans by 22 points.
What does this mean to the media world? Plenty! The Republicans, always great fundraisers, will break records for an off-presidential year in 2010. There are 40 House seats that are not in strong hands, particularly those won in 2008. Also, the Democrats have several Senate seats in jeopardy in states like Arkansas, Connecticut, Nevada, New York, Delaware, Colorado, and Illinois (we will give our fearless forecast on the races six weeks before the election).
Next fall TV stations and cable systems and some radio stations (who will see lots of action from the many hotly contested house seats) will benefit mightily. From Labor Day to Election Day on November 2nd things will look good for TV advertising in many, many areas.
My opinion is that the economic recovery (last quarter’s GDP growth of 3.5% has been “adjusted” to 2.8%) will emerge in the summer but be tepid at best. The political spending will be a very welcome and needed shot in the arm for local TV, Radio, and cable players.
If you would like to contact Don Cole directly, you may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org