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:
Right about now, Democrats are probably wishing they hadn't picked North Carolina as the site for this summer's convention.
When President Obama selected Charlotte, North Carolina, more than a year ago, it seemed like a smart way to double down on a state that propelled him to victory in 2008.
North Carolina hadn't gone to the Democrats since Jimmy Carter.
But things have gone downhill – fast – in the Tar Heel State for Democrats, and the list of problems seems endless.
For starters, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage at the same time President Obama was saying he thinks it's a good idea.
Now gay rights activists want the convention moved out of North Carolina, practically impossible at this point.
Unemployment in North Carolina is 9.4%, far above the national average.
Plus, who dreamed this up? President Obama will give his convention speech in Bank of America Stadium. Perfect – not.
Then there are the unions, one of the Democrats' key voting blocs. They're angry and aren't in the mood to help fundraise.
That's because there are no unionized hotels in Charlotte. Also, North Carolina has the smallest proportion of union members and union membership in the country.
To top it all off, there are two sex scandals engulfing prominent North Carolina Democrats: the trial of former Sen. John Edwards and the ongoing investigation of the state party chair, David Parker.
The Obama political operation used to be better than this.
Here’s my question to you: Was it a mistake for Democrats to pick North Carolina for their convention?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.
Less than four years after George W. Bush left Washington, Democrats are afraid of another Bush.
If Jeb Bush were to become Mitt Romney's running mate, the former Florida governor would likely deliver his home state. Plus, he would likely attract more Hispanics, Catholics, conservatives and independents.
That's exactly what Democrats fear, and why they're likely relieved to hear Jeb Bush isn't interested.
People close to Bush tell Politico he means it, too. They say Jeb truly doesn't want to be on the ticket, that it's just not his time.
It could mean 2012 is just too close to the eight years of his brother's presidency and that the country couldn't stomach another President Bush. Just think: Having a Bush in the race would immediately put the focus back on the Iraq war, torture, spying on Americans, etc.
However, Bush loyalists insist his family's privacy is a major reason why Jeb didn't want to run for president this year and won't want to be the No. 2 either.
They say he's happy giving speeches, doing consulting and policy work through education and literacy foundations.
Plus as the son and brother of former presidents, Jeb Bush on a presidential ticket raises the political dynasty question. As George Will points out, if Bush ran as vice president that would mean a Bush on the GOP ticket in seven of the past nine presidential elections.
Still, not everyone is giving up hope on Jeb Bush running with Romney.
His eldest son, George P. Bush, tells Politico "it would be a phenomenal ticket."
Here’s my question to you: Democrats fear another Bush. Should they? Do you?
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?
It's the kind of thing you'd expect to hear from Republicans, but not Democrats.
Congressman Dennis Cardoza - a Democrat - is blasting President Obama as being more like a professor who is arrogant and alienating.
The five-term congressman from California, who's retiring at the end of this term, writes in "The Hill" that it's become obvious that the president might prefer to be a university professor.
Cardoza says the Obama administration suffers from something he calls idea disease: They roll out new programs weekly - and sometimes daily - without any priorities and often with little follow up.
Cardoza also writes that President Obama has an "I'm right, you're wrong" attitude. He says this arrogant demeanor has alienated many potential allies.
The Democratic congressman suggests the president avoids personal contact with members of Congress and people outside the beltway - it's not the first time we've heard this critique.
Although President Obama gives speeches to big crowds, he avoids individual contact. This sounds like the polar opposite of Bill Clinton, who fed off contact with "regular people."
This "arms length" attitude extends to top Obama officials. Cardoza describes a senior housing official who crafted policies for the foreclosure crisis - but who never bothered to personally meet with a homeowner who had been foreclosed on. Pretty shocking.
Despite this disparaging picture of the president, Cardoza says he would still take "Professor" Obama over the "goat rodeo clowns" the Republican field offers."
But he worries the voters might give the president a failing grade in November if he doesn't improve his performance.
Here’s my question to you: How damaging is it when a Democratic congressman criticizes President Obama as a "professor" who is arrogant and alienating?
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.
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?
Republicans got God.
A new poll suggests they are much more likely to go to church than Democrats.
A Gallup Poll shows that 40% of Republicans say they attend church weekly.
Twenty-one percent say they attend nearly weekly or monthly, and 38% say they seldom or rarely go to church.
Compare that to only 27% of Democrats who say they go to church every week, 20% who say they go monthly and 52% of Democrats who say they seldom or never go to church.
These polls also show that Democrats are less religious than the average American, and Republicans are more religious.
Consider this: Almost one in five Democrats identify with no religious faith compared to only one in 10 Republicans who feel that way.
This might explain why religion often seems to play a more prominent role when it comes to Republican politicians, especially during primaries.
This time around in the GOP horse race for president:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry held a major prayer session in Houston before he announced his candidacy. Perry has also been known to pray for President Obama. In April, the Texas governor designated a three-day period as "days of prayer for rain" in his drought-stricken state.
Faith also plays a large role in Michele Bachmann's candidacy. While giving an economic speech just Tuesday, Bachmann suggested the United States return to its Judeo-Christian roots to bring back economic responsibility, "Cry out to holy God. It's not too late. He can save us."
As for Mitt Romney, it's unclear yet what impact, if any, his Mormon faith will have on his candidacy.
Here’s my question to you: Why are Republicans more likely than Democrats to go to church?
It's a time-honored political tradition: Ducking a presidential candidate with sagging poll numbers.
And a year out from the 2012 election, it looks like some Democrats can't get far enough away from President Obama.
Plenty of Democratic lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, insist that this president is not a political liability.
But as Politico reports, there are growing signs that he is just that.
Take, for example, recent trips that Obama made to Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania - all states where he won in 2008.
In North Carolina, six Democratic House members didn't join the president. Only two lawmakers showed up: a senator who isn't up for re-election until 2014 and a veteran congressman who represents a majority black district.
When the president visited Pittsburgh, no members of Congress attended any of his public events, although a few met him at the airport.
In Michigan, none of the 15 members of the state's congressional delegation showed up with Obama in Detroit. This is a city the president won with 74% of the vote in 2008.
Part of the issue in Michigan might be the president's push for free trade in a state with strong unions.
Some believe that these Democrats' efforts to dodge the president will only backfire.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell says it's "political idiocy" and calls these members of Congress "complete wusses."
Maybe, maybe not. But if Obama's approval ratings continue to hover in the mid-40s and unemployment stays stuck at 9%, don't be surprised if Democrats keep covering their political backsides.
Here’s my question to you: What message does it send when some Democrats are ducking President Obama?
Here's just one more sign that President Obama is in deep trouble headed into a re-election year:
The Democrat-controlled senate has failed to pass the president's job bill, his top legislative priority.
The senate voted 50-to-49 against the $447 billion package - falling far short of the 60 votes needed to pass.
President Obama has been barnstorming the country to promote this thing, but it didn't make a difference:
Not a single Republican voted for the jobs bill. And, even worse - two Democrats up for re-election in conservative states also voted against it.
President Obama insists this isn't the end of the road for the jobs bill. He's vowing to break the massive initiative down into several separate bills and have Congress vote on them one at a time. Some of the more popular elements include a payroll tax cut and the extension of unemployment benefits.
But it's far from certain that the bitterly divided congress will pass any of this stuff headed into the 2012 elections. Republicans call the whole thing a political stunt. They say the jobs bill is nothing more than another failed stimulus plan.
Meanwhile, Democrats up for re-election will have to decide whether or not to stand by the president. Experts tell Reuters that at least a few dozen Democrats might duck President Obama in 2012 since unpopular presidents traditionally hurt their party in Congress.
It's early - and that number may go up or down depending on a couple of other numbers: Mr. Obama's approval rating, now in the low 40s, and the nation's unemployment rate - which has been stuck at over 9%.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean for President Obama that he can't even get the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass his jobs bill?
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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