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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Surprise, surprise: Survey predicts huge GOP wins

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

It's both the economy and the monstrousness of the national debt.

Thursday, October 28, 2010 10:10 am
The results of the poll conducted by Survey USA for the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, The News-Sentinel and NewsChannel 15 weren't exactly unexpected: wins for Republicans Dan Coats over Brad Ellsworth in the U.S. Senate race and Marlin Stutzman over Tom Hayhurst in the 3rd District U.S. House race.But the sheer size of their projected victories is pretty close to stunning. Coats is poised to win 44 percent to 32 percent, according to the poll. And the prospects look even better for Stutzman among the likely voters surveyed: a 57 percent to 32 percent win. Those numbers would represent not just a defeat. They would mean a political stomping of the first order. The strength of the anti-Washington sentiment is seen in the numbers for Libertarians – 7 percent in each of the races. Libertarian candidates usually pull about 1 percent.

The results become more understandable when we note the issues voters said mattered most to them. The economy topped the list, with 43 percent saying it was the main issue. And third on the list was the national debt, listed by 15 percent.

With few exceptions, modern national elections have been predictable by the state of the economy in the months leading up to the election. When the economy is bad – or even when voters perceive it as bad – the party most in power loses seats in Congress. Since we've been through the worst downturn in 70 years, with unemployment still at nearly 10 percent, it was inevitable Democrats would lose seats this year.

But add to that the widespread belief that President Obama and his congressional allies badly misread their mandate. They tacked much too far left much too quickly and grew government's scope and cost with breathtaking audacity. That's why the crushing national debt is so high on the list of concerns – it's the way people keep score of what government is up to.

So it's not surprising analysts generally say Republicans will probably retake the House and even have a shot at the Senate. One thing in the survey that might surprise some people is that “moral direction of the country” was the No. 2 issue among respondents, named as the top issue by 20 percent. This is supposed to be the year economic issues squeeze out “values” issues, even among those extremist tea partiers.

But morals and values are always important to Hoosiers, even when they talk more about other things. And isn't profligacy – wildly out of control on spending, no idea how to pay for it – a moral issue?


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