Americans on both the right and left are frustrated with Washington, and that's being reflected in recent polls and special elections, Jon Corzine, the former governor of New Jersey told CNBC Wednesday.
“It tells you that the fervor, the fire in the belly of those that want to express the conservative view is growing, not diminishing,” he said. “You’re getting to see the awakening of that fervor from some of the more progressive, liberal side.”
This vote this November could have more significant implications for Washington than even the next presidential election, said Corzine.
Tapping into growing anti-Washington anger, Texas Gov. Rick Perry defeated Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Tuesday's GOP primary, following Scott Brown's surprising victory in the Massachusetts special election for the Senate. And now the late Democratic Congressman John Murtha’s seat is considered up for grabs.
Massachusetts is a much better indicator of the electorate’s political mood than Texas, said Corzine. Polls in Massachusetts and New Jersey in post-election showed that unions were 50-50 or more towards the Republican side, said Corzine.
“Those folks have a conservative bent in their stomach underneath, so that’s trouble for progressives and Democrats going forward,” he said.
Corzine, an incumbent Democrat himself, lost the last New Jersey election last November to Chris Christie, the state’s first Republican governor in 12 years.
“Most of the progressives thought I was too liberal to compromise in the middle, so you lost some of that enthusiasm of the people on the left.”
The Obama administration has attributed recent GOP gains to anti-incumbent fervor rather than a real, conservative uprising, yet the president’s approval ratings among registered voters have nosedived to a new low of 44 percent.
“The left is not particularly happy with our president,” said Corzine. “They think he hasn’t carried their agenda on this whole public option issue, but there’s a lot of frustration.”
With more than 25 percent of the public unemployed, underemployed or out of the workforce, said Corzine, the electorate is “very dissatisfied.”
“Everyone knows somebody that is struggling in the economy,” he said. “There are a lot of things that are out of quilter and people are just plane out and all unhappy.”