By CNN's Jack Cafferty:
"Fired up. Ready to go!"
Turns out that rallying cry for Democrats in 2008 may not apply to this presidential campaign.
A new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows Democratic voter enthusiasm is down sharply from the past two presidential elections.
Only 39% of Democrats say they are "more enthusiastic about voting than usual" - that's down from 61% who felt that way in 2008 and 68% in 2004.
And it's lower than the 51% of Republicans who say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting for president.
Voter enthusiasm often gives a sense of possible turnout but it also reflects voters' expectations of their party's chances of winning.
Translation: Democrats might be less optimistic about President Obama winning than they were four years ago.
When you consider the fact that Republicans are more excited at this point - and that they historically vote at higher rates than Democrats - it's not too encouraging for the Obama campaign.
On the other hand it's possible Democrats may just not be tuned into the race yet and that come Election Day, they'll vote, but won't be excited about it.
Meanwhile in another sign that Democrats aren't that revved up, the party is having some serious fundraising "issues."
For two months now, President Obama and the Democrats have lagged behind Mitt Romney and the Republicans to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.
And it's not just the race for president. Nancy Pelosi is having a hard time getting Democratic House members to contribute to the party.
In June, GOP lawmakers gave more than three times as much as Democrats did to their respective Congressional campaign committee.
Here’s my question to you: Why aren’t Democrats as excited to vote this year?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
As the Republican candidates keep tearing each other apart, President Obama may want to start worrying about November - if he hasn't already.
New Gallup state-by-state polling on the president's approval rating suggests he might be in trouble.
Overall, President Obama averaged a 44% job approval in his third year in office - down from 47% in his second year.
According to gallup, his approval rating declined from 2010 to 2011 in 47 of the 50 states. Not good.
The president's approval rating was above 50% last year in only 10 states plus the District of Columbia.
Gallup suggests that the state approval rating could provide some clues into how President Obama will fare in the electoral college.
If the president were to carry only the states where more people approved than disapproved of him last year, he would lose to the Republican nominee 323 to 215. That's landslide territory.
And Politico reports on several additional factors working against the president.
The congressional budget office says unemployment is likely to climb to 9% by the election.
There's polling that shows President Obama tied or trailing Mitt Romney in key swing states.
And there's growing evidence that the idea that the president will raise a lot more money than the Republicans just isn't true.
Of course there are still nine months to go before the election; and we don't know yet who the Republican nominee will be, or if there will be a third party candidate - which could work to Mr. Obama's advantage.
Here’s my question to you: How worried should President Obama be about winning a second term?
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty
A dramatic change in the face of the Democratic Party: The New York Times "Opinion Pages" reports that for the first time in next year's election the party will "explicitly abandon the white working class."
This is huge.
According to plans by party operatives, Democrats hope to cobble together a center-left coalition made up of highly educated voters such as lawyers, professors and teachers - along with African-American and Hispanic lower-income voters, according to the Times.
As for whites without college degrees, Democrats are giving up on trying to win a majority, the paper reports. Instead they hope to keep the Republican winning margins to “manageable levels” - less than 15%, according to the Times. In 2010, Democrats lost the white-working class vote by a whopping 30-point margin, according to the paper.
One Democratic analyst told the Times that "the Republican Party has become the party of the white working class."
This is pretty stunning. Republicans were traditionally the party of the wealthy, while Democrats were the friend of the working man.
It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who put together the New Deal coalition that included unions, blue-collar workers, farmers, blacks, people on government assistance and intellectuals without money.
Fast forward to today - it's interesting that at a time when unemployment is holding at 9%, the Democratic Party is choosing to give up on these core voters and go in another direction.
Meanwhile, a recent poll spells trouble for President Barack Obama when it comes to blue-collar Democrats. The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey shows nearly half of all white Democrats with no college education say they don't want Obama heading the party's ticket.
Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
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It's time for President Obama to step aside and hand the reins of the Democratic Party to Hillary Clinton.
This rather radical idea is coming from two Democratic pollsters in a Wall Street Journal piece called "The Hillary Moment."
Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen argue that Obama should follow in the footsteps of Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson. Both presidents "took the moral high road" and abandoned a run for a second term when they realized they could not effectively govern.
Caddell and Schoen say that never before has there been such an "obvious potential successor" as Hillary Clinton. They say she would save the Democratic Party and be able to get things done in Washington. They think Clinton is the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy.
They point to Clinton's experience as first lady, senator and now secretary of state - suggesting she is more qualified than any presidential candidate in recent memory, including her husband.
Although Clinton says she's not interested in running, polls suggest she might do pretty well:
In September, her approval rating was at an all-time high of 69%. Another poll shows Clinton leading Mitt Romney by 17 points in a hypothetical matchup.
Caddell and Schoen say Obama could still win re-election in 2012, but only by waging a negative campaign, which would ultimately make the gridlock in Washington even worse.
If Obama isn't willing to step aside, they think Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi should urge him to do so.
The pollsters say they're writing as "patriots and Democrats," have had no contact with Clinton's people, and don't expect to play a direct role in any potential campaign.
Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama step aside and hand the reins of the Democratic Party to Hillary Clinton?
With the 2012 campaign well under way, the Republican candidates are out there daily tripping all over themselves and each other to win their party's nomination. As the incumbent, President Obama is expected to be the Democratic nominee. But what if he's not?
Consider this - a new CNN-ORC poll shows 70% of Democrats want the president to be the party's nominee. That number may sound high, but it's actually down 11 points since June. Working in the president's favor, only 57% of Democrats wanted the party to renominate Bill Clinton in 1994... and we all know how that turned out.
However - there are other bleak signs on the horizon for President Obama. His job approval rating continues to decline, hitting a new low of 39% for one 3-day period last week according to Gallup.
And Americans are increasingly unhappy with Mr. Obama's handling of the economy - the number one issue in the country.
According to Gallup, he gets a lousy 26% approval rating on the economy, 24% for his handling of the federal budget deficit and 29% for job creation. These are terrible numbers.
As if to confirm them, Morgan Stanley was out with a report this morning that says the United States is "dangerously close" to a recession in the next 6 to 12 months.
President Obama says he has a plan for job growth... but he's waiting until after Labor Day to tell us.
Why is he waiting? The unemployment rate is 9.1%. Do you suppose there are millions of Americans who would like to know how the government will create jobs now? Not after the President's vacation to Martha's Vineyard.
We do know the president hopes to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits; spending additional hundreds of billions of dollars we don't have.
Here’s my question to you: Should another Democrat challenge President Obama for the nomination – and if so, who?
A candid Congressman... it's an endangered species in Washington. Unless they're retiring and have nothing to lose by being honest.
The Wall Street Journal interviewed Congressman Brian Baird, a six-term Democrat from Washington State who's retiring at the end of this term.
Baird calls out the Democratic leaders, saying they're "authoritarian" and "closed." He says they've repeated some of the Republicans' errors: "We've made some of the same damn mistakes, and we were supposed to be better. That's the heartbreak."
And we're talking about a loyal Democrat here. Baird voted for all of the Democrats' legislative priorities - including the stimulus bill, health care reform and cap and trade. Although he does admit that all three have serious flaws.
Baird says he was very excited when his party won control of Congress in 2006, but saw troublesome signs early on. For example, right after the election, he says Speaker Nancy Pelosi abandoned all work on a rules package to make the House more ethical. He says the leaders told party members to quote "trust them to clean things up."
That worked out well, didn't it?
Baird says he was optimistic when President Obama was elected. But the White House's decision not to make job creation its top priority made him lose hope pretty quickly.
His advice for incoming Republican members of Congress is to "treat the voters like adults."
Now there's an idea.
Here’s my question to you: One retiring Democratic congressman says the party's leadership has been "authoritarian" and "closed." Is he right?
President Obama speaks to supporters while Vice President Biden looks on during the 'Moving America Forward' rally at Cleveland State University. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
What a difference two years makes.
In 2008, President Obama rode into the White House on a wave of broad voter enthusiasm, the likes of which hadn't been seen in this country in decades.
Fast forward two years, and the president's party is expected to get crushed in Tuesday's midterm elections. The latest USA Today/Gallup Poll shows the largest Republican margin in House voting in several generations.
And regardless of the turnout, it's looking more and more like Republicans will win more than the 39 seats needed to gain control of the House.
Experts in both parties keep revising their estimates upward. Many now believe the Democrats will lose more than 50 seats, and some are putting that number as high as 70.
Meanwhile, critics are heaping a lot of the blame on the president.
A piece in the London Telegraph suggests that by abandoning his own talk of bipartisanship, President Obama divided the country and set his party up for defeat.
The piece points out how Bill Clinton has held more than 100 events around the country while President Obama is mostly limiting himself to the friendly blue states. This is striking because Barack Obama rose to fame as a state senator by shooting down the notion of a red America and a blue America.
Many also feel the president didn't use his office to address the most pressing issue, the economy. Instead he focused on the "grand issues," such as health care.
And how's this for symbolism: . In Cleveland, Ohio, on Sunday, he spoke in an indoor arena that was nearly half-empty. And on the eve of the midterm elections, President Obama - the leader of the Democratic party - has no public events on his calendar.
Here’s my question to you: If the Democrats get crushed tomorrow, how much blame does President Obama deserve?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may wind up doing in her own party in the midterm elections.
Jonathan Allen writes for Politico on how Pelosi, even more so than President Obama, could be the heaviest drag on the Democrats' hopes of holding onto the House in November.
All around the country, Republicans are using Pelosi's image on billboards, in mailers and in video clips to encourage voters not to support the Democratic candidate.
In Florida, billboards show one Democrat as a marionette with Pelosi as the puppeteer; and the National Republican Congressional committee is airing anti-Pelosi ads in dozens of districts that show how often a Democratic lawmaker has voted with Pelosi.
Midterm elections are usually seen as a referendum on the president, but Allen writes that if the Democrats lose the House, it's as likely to be a rejection of Pelosi, one of the most unpopular figures in U.S. politics today.
One expert says the strategy of demonizing Pelosi didn't work for the Republicans in the past two elections, but this time around it just might. He says the "vitriol" against Pelosi is similar to what Democrats showed against Newt Gingrich.
And Democrats are feeling the pressure. Several of them have already said they will not vote for Pelosi as speaker in the next Congress, that is if their party manages to keep control.
Other Democrats insist the GOP is pouncing on Pelosi because she has been so successful passing legislation such as health care and Wall Street reform.
Here’s my question to you: How much might House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hurt the Democrats in the midterm elections?
More bad news for Democrats. As if they don't have enough problems these days, The Daily Beast reports white women are now deserting the Democratic Party in droves.
Exclusive polling data from Gallup shows enthusiasm among all women is down, but white women are the least enthusiastic of all the major demographic groups.
Only 27 percent of white female registered voters say they're excited about the midterms. That compares to 36 percent of black men and women and 40 percent of white men.
Another Gallup Poll from earlier this summer showed that Republican women are the most enthusiastic of registered female voters. It's Independent women and Democratic women who aren't too psyched about the upcoming elections.
The Daily Beast article suggests that the so-called PUMAs may finally be leaving the Democratic party for good. These are the white women voters whose motto was "Party Unity My Ass" during the primaries.
At the time, they were so unhappy with Hillary Clinton's loss to Barack Obama that they were supposedly going to vote for John McCain in 2008. Turns out they didn't, but only time will tell what these women will do next.
The Daily Beast article suggests Democrats still have a last-ditch chance to attract white female voters by focusing on issues that matter more to women - like health care for children.
And, pollsters point out that although Democrats may be losing white women, they aren't necessarily headed into the Republican column. They may just stay home on election day.
Here’s my question to you: Why would white women be deserting the Democratic Party?
When it comes to the midterm elections, the question now seems to be: "Just how bloody will things get for the Democrats?"
Each day brings more bad news. And here's the latest: a new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows Americans think Republicans in Congress will do a better job than Democrats in handling seven out of nine key issues.
They include: terrorism, immigration, federal spending, the economy, Afghanistan, jobs and corruption in government. The two parties are essentially tied on health care; and the only issue where Democrats score higher is the environment. Not exactly what's going to bring people to the polls this November.
Republicans need to win 39 seats in order to win control of the House - and some experts are predicting they could win as many as 51. Some even think Democratic control of the Senate is at risk - but that's more of a long shot.
And it's not just about Congress. Democrats are at risk of losing the governorships of some states that usually lean left, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and maybe even President Obama's home state of Illinois.
So with Democrats poised to get a beating in 60 days, and with everybody saying: "It's the economy, Stupid" - the president has chosen this time to give another go at peace in the Middle East.
A noble cause, for sure. But for decades, American presidents have tried and failed. A column in the Daily Beast called "The Peace Talks Charade" suggests the situation is in the same place it was three years ago under President Bush. And neither the Israelis nor Palestinians have the confidence in Mr. Obama's ability to broker a deal.
Here’s my question to you: Why have voters fallen out of love with the Democrats?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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