The Democrats are back in power in Congress--but does that mean they have the confidence of the American people to lead? And are they better for business? It appears so according to a new WSJ/NBC poll. CNBC's John Harwood explained the numbers before a discussion on just why the Dems might be able to sing "Happy Days Are Here Again."
Harwood listed the percentage of advantage in the poll numbers the Democrats have over Republicans in these areas:
Taxes-8% advantage of those polled--favor Democrats over Republicans.
Controlling spending--15% advantage
Reducing the deficit: 21% advantage
Handling the economy: 13% advantage
Harwood goes on to say that part of the reason is obvious: Republicans have held the White House and Congress for the last six years. But he says Democrats ran a new breed of winning candidates in the fall elections of 2006. He mentioned Sen. John Tester (D-MT) and Rep. Health Shuler (D-NC) as two examples--both fairly conservative in their views.
President Bush is trying to rally the GOP faithful, according to Harwood, with meetings with GOP leaders.
Now for the analysis. Robert Shaprio is chairman of Sonecon and a former advisor to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)--and a former Undersecretary of Commerce. Dan Mitchell is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Both men agree--the Republicans are getting the worst of it right now. Mithcell says the last six years have turned conservatives against Republicans--because the GOP lawmakers in Congress have gotten into the "orgy of earmarks" and budget busting spending. He says Republicans have turned away from free market principles.
Shaprio says that wages and income for middle Americans have stalled the last six years--even as productivity has reached new highs. He says there's a broad public collapse in support and faith in Republicans. He pointed to the 1990's where the U.S. had the longest expansion in American history--to the last six years where "we had the slowest expansion."
How do Republicans come back? Mitchell says they need to reverse their big spending ways.
More numbers from the WSJ/NBC poll--
Who is better for the U.S. economy in your mind?
About the same: 23%
Who is better at reducing the deficit?
About the Same: 18%