U.S. voters head to the polls next November for congressional midterm elections with enormous political stakes for President Barack Obama. All 435 seats in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will be at stake along with 33 of the 100 seats in the Democratically-controlled Senate. Obama has seen a major dip in his public approval rating of late and if that continues, it could be a major factor in the November elections.
House Speaker John Boehner and his fellow Republicans hope to gain congressional seats in November by focusing on the troubled rollout of Obama’s health care law.
“There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the ACA [Affordable Care Act] smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they are running or not, because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin,” he said.
The president’s party often lost seats in the second term midterm election and the fate of the health care law would have a major impact on the elections, said analyst John Fortier.
Public attitudes toward Congress were dismal in the wake of the government shutdown in October, said Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown.
Lawmakers with Tea Party support got much of the blame for the shutdown, and that has sparked a new battle within the Republican Party, said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.
“Many mainstream Republicans are now pointing the finger at the Tea Party as well, not just Democrats," he said. "The Tea Party is on to the right issues. The question is: are they going to change their tactics and their messaging?”