May 19th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Election results a referendum on Pres. Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

For someone who electrified the electorate during his run for the White House, President Obama isn't getting it done when it comes to helping out his fellow Democrats.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/19/art.obama.jpg caption=""]
The losses just keep piling up: First his candidates lost the governor races in New Jersey and Virginia; then came the shocking loss of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts.

And now, Republican-turned-Democrat Senator Arlen Specter - who was backed by the president - has been turned out. His career in the U.S. Senate is over

Suddenly Democratic incumbents are like deer on the opening day of hunting season, running for cover and fearing the worst.

Come November...one or both houses of Congress could fall to the Republicans. As one top Democrat tells the New York Daily News: "If the election were held today we'd lose both houses."

And it seems like the White House is starting to get it. After his guys got their hats handed to them in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey, President Obama pretty much stayed away from Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.

But it's worth pointing out that some of these candidates didn't want the President's help either; they don't want to get too close to a president with mediocre approval ratings whose policies - like health care reform - aren't popular everywhere.

Meanwhile the White House is busy spinning another awful day the best they can. They claim the race that meant the most was the Pennsylvania congressional seat - where Democrats managed to hold onto the late Congressman Murtha's seat.

The White House also cites weak candidates in the other races as well as a toxic political environment for incumbents.

Here’s my question to you: To what extent are yesterday's election results a referendum on President Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Paulette in Dallas, Pennsylvania writes:
100%. The way Specter in Pennsylvania was hung out to dry was shameful. That man put thirty years of his life on the line by crossing the aisle and voting for the stimulus package. He had no choice but to convert to being a Democrat then. I'm sure he was promised the world and on Election Day, Obama was in Youngstown, Ohio. This shows me how he honors his word.

Sean writes:
I think it's more of a referendum on how pitiful Congress is and the Democrats' agenda than it is on Obama personally. I think Republicans are likely to get every bit as much of a wake-up call come election time. Just look at the number of incumbent Republicans who are struggling in the primaries and you can see. However, if Obama doesn't learn to govern from the center, he will have a rude awakening in 2012.

Bob in Arizona writes:
Arlen Specter was not a Democrat. He was an opportunist. This was not a vote against Barack Obama... it was a vote against someone whose only goal was to remain in office.

Steve writes:
What about the special election for Rep. Murtha's seat? Isn't that a referendum on Obama showing that Pennsylvania swing voters who voted for McCain are now voting Democratic?

Bill writes:
Hey Jack. I think we have to wait for the fall elections. These are critical six months for Obama. If he loses both houses it will be a "No vote of confidence". If they can create good paying jobs, all this anger will evaporate very fast. "It is the economy stupid" said the bold man years ago. That phrase will stand for ever.

Catherine writes:
Absolutely a referendum on the president. Even the people who voted for Obama are now realizing what a mistake it was. He is not listening to the American people, the idea that we don't know what is good for us is becoming more than insulting. I can't wait for November.

Filed under: Elections • President Barack Obama
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. Michael Gonzales

    May 19th, 2010 5:56 pm ET

    Without a doubt this coming november is a referendum on Mr. Obama. The President and the leaders of both houses passed a Health Care bill the majority of americans not only opposse but feel very passionate about thier feelings against it. Mr. Obama promised so many people so many things as most politicians do but has yet too keep most of those promises too his base and on top of that he keeps finding hisself against the majority of americans on it seems every issue that has come up this past year and a half. He has aliented the democrats from it seem not only the moderate democrate vote but the all important independent vote.

    Michael Gonzales, Edgewood New Mexico

    May 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  2. Idaho Democrat

    I don't think yesterday's votes were a referendum on President Obama. I think they are more about congressional disapproval. Congress isn't doing its job. Congress should be passing laws to help people–jobs, financial reform, etc. Both parties are not doing enough. The republicans are still just saying "no" and the democrats can't seem to get their act together. People are tired of nothing getting done in Congress. There has been some significant legislation passed but the democrats have not been doing a very good job of promoting what has been done that is positive. Until both sides decide it is better to work together, nothing is going to get done to really help the American people. The republicans are paid off by special interest groups and some of the key democrats in leadership positions are, also, specifically Senator Dodd and his close relationship with the financial institutions.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  3. John Kliewer

    To what extent are yesterday's election result a referendum on President Obama? Zero extent. American voters are not teen aged lemmings who vote for whom they are told to vote. Coattails are an outdated notion.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  4. lake grigsby

    No. It a referendum on the people who got there
    butts beat.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  5. Chris

    Jack, the election results are NOT a referendum on Pres. Obama. They are a referendum on the self centered and dysfunctional congress that is afraid of passing any key legislation such as healthcare, immigration, environment and financial reform. Even with the new congressmen and senators coming onboard after November election, I’m very pessimistic that anything will change in Washington politics. Every congressman and senator is more worried about their next election and what their constituents want than focusing on the issues of national importance. People in congress just have to remember that they are not only accountable for their own constituents, but also to every American.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  6. Jeff Stevenson

    It may be but the country was in a dark place when President Obama took over. My impression after 55 years of life is that he is doing exactly what needs to be done to get this country on a more sutainable path. Change no matter what form it takes is most times unpopular. Change that we needed is the change that we are getting!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  7. RJ Koser

    I don't think it's a referendum. For example, I would have voted against Specter no matter what. He's too old and should have been gone long ago. All he was worried about was keeping the job. As tip O'Neill said so weel - all politics are local.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  8. Rick - Colorado

    Its a referendum on the incumbents. These long term incumbents have lost touch and refuse to reconnect to the people they serve. They become entrenched in collecting the campaign dollars and preserving their own lifestyle.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  9. Sue, Vienna, VA

    As a republican for more years than I care to count, I (as well as my husband) voted for Barack Obama in 2008. I am happy to report that we never looked back and are happy and satisfied that we made the correct choice. Having now watched the republican's behavior for nearly 1 1/2 years in the wake of President Obama's win has been an eye-opener, to say the least. The likes of Sarah Palin, the tea party movement, Mitch McConnell, Ed Cantor, Lindsey Graham, Jim DeMint, and SO MANY others, makes me feel like I voted Republican out of force of habit as opposed to making an intelligent choice. However, in self-defense, I also feel that the republican party of the past were a MUCH more respectable lot! I can only hope that the majority of Americans can look at the results of yesterday and separate our President from the many fools in Congress,

    May 19, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  10. shashidhar

    To confuse the verdict in primaries as a general prevalent mood is an over analysis and reads too much into it..
    It is the independents who are the determining swing votes; And they dont get to vote in most primaries. All the primary results show is that each party is circling its wagons and staying true to the core beliefs.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  11. Pamela - VA

    No, the results from yesterday were not a referendum on the President. It's a referendum on Congress. Our lawmakers have abused the very law that has allowed citizens to serve the American people. It is absolutely ridiculous we have Senators and members of Congress that serving multiple terms. If there were term limits on these seats, we would find our lawmakers taking their jobs a little more seriously. Thankfully the American people are starting to wake up! Nancy Pelosi, John McCain, Robert Byrd, and John Boehner also need to be shown the door. GET RID OF THEM!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  12. Scott from Seattle

    Not much. Politics is local. Maybe a referendum on congress -which did nothing for eight years under Bush and under Obama has been a combination of weakness and vacillation (Dems) and mindless stone-walling (GOP). Congress need san overhaul and I think that's the real statement.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  13. Susan from Idaho

    Let the GOP have the seats, they can take the heat for a while. It's time everyone realizes that they say what you want to hear to get in there the it's still the same old dog and pony show.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  14. Jeff

    Or, are the results no more than a referendum on Congress? If you want to look at low ratings, start at the most disrespected branch.
    Congress has been working for the lobbyists and business so blatantly, maybe the people finally got tired of "Government without Representation". Another revolution, same driving force.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  15. Patriot

    Jack, you are smarter than to ask such a air headed question.

    In listening to all this hand wringing about Obama and his purported ineptness, one could postulate the alternative of where we would be as a nation had John McCain and Sarah Palin were elected instead.

    Would McCain come riding to the rescue like his farce of leaving Washington and then racing back to save the negotiations to fund the bailout? Would Ms. Palin have quit like she did as Governor when the going got tough? What would the pundits say if the economy were even more in the tank and how that would be “toxic” to republican candidates?

    These are unprecedented times and at least Obama has the fortitude to stick to his guns. It is too bad that pundits seem to forget that bad times breed change irrespective of who is in the oval office.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  16. steve- virginia beach

    Obama is a large part of it but hardly the entire issue. This has grown into a referendum on whose country this is and whether we can take it back from the politicians, illegal aliens, and other special interests. And whether we have the determination to salvage our country and change it back into the one our founding fathers left us.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  17. G in Maryland

    I do not find it a referendum at all. Specter was and is a Republican and stated at the time that he crossed lines to keep his job. The people of PA did not like that, and the Democrats tried to get rid of him for years. This is not rocket science, the man needed to go.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  18. Erick Peisker

    Irvine, CA
    After being in office for almost two years I have to admit you wonder what he is doing. I lost my job a month after inauguration and I saw his energy and ideas a great hope that things would be changing. I am still unemployed and still looking, have seen none of the stimulus plan help job creation much. I am a Democrat and I want change, but to be honest I will not re-elect him. I see him as someone who is just passing the day, not much different than an office worker stuck in a cubicle waiting for something better and checking out Facebook. There has been so much rhetoric that he is a fascist or socialist and that tea party rallies are meant to be the voice of the common American. In reality I think the entire system is out of touch with the needs of the common citizen. Some politician needs to step up and fill the shoes of a leader who will bring back changes that effect daily living positively and not focus on the extreme views of either party.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  19. Gregg

    Arlen Spector lost because he was a repub for 30 years and towed the Bush line for 8 years.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  20. Joe, Chicago IL

    Primaries are the tip of the iceberg...November will truely show how 'fluffed' his approval numbers really are.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  21. Gary T.

    I don't believe it is about Obama at all, except perhaps for the Racist Right Wing vote. More it seems that a "Cleansing" is beginning, one such as the Knight's Templar experienced Centuries ago when too much Power and Favor went to too few, and the Populace, as well as the Powers That Be, realized that the certain decisions that were supposed to be Idealistic can prove the Opposite without some Limits to the Terms of the Contract.

    Gary T.
    Hudson, WI

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  22. Eric J. Bitterman

    It is a referendum. We will see if these people are effective once they get into office. Unfortunately I think they will find that making a difference in D.C. is going to be very very difficult. If the Republicans take over both Houses in November the only thing that will happen is a complete gridlock where no one will get anything done. I am just hoping the people who will get in via the Tea Party are not full of hype and they do not do anymore damage to this country in pursuit of their "ideals".

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  23. Shari from Madison WI

    Unfortunately, the hatred and blaming of our President for everything that is wrong in this country seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. I'm not saying that President Obama is perfect. I don't agree with everything he'sdone or hasn't done, but let's not forget, he didn't create all the messes we have now. Both republicans and Democrats can take that blame. I'm saddened by the fact that Presidend Obama is a target for bigots, name callers and blamers. He is doing the best he can and gets no credit for trying to be a 'middle of the roader' rather than an extremist.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  24. barbara

    Maybe it is not a referendum on President Obama but the country tired of long term senators and representatives. I think we Americans realized that we are the govt and we need individuals who can walk in the middle of the road not to the left or right all the time. Maybe we are seeing a President who is trying to fix things but the 'good old boy system' is putting up roadblocks. We need individuals who can extend an hand to the left or right and get things done for the American people and not argue a point because you are on the left of the right. President has done more in his short time compared to some for 8 years. thanks.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  25. richard

    Yes! It's a statement on his POLICIES and his Administration. He is showing us that he is NOT who he said he was during the Campaign. He's not a "centirist" or a "uniter". He's far left and his vision of America is not sitting well with mainstream America. Just wait until November. The Tidal Wave is just beginning.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  26. jay

    Senator Arlen Specter any way you turn it is a republican by heart , this have nothing to do with the swaying power of President Obama , simply fellow democrats can’t stomach the idea of voting for a historical republican figure dressed as a democrat. As for the “shocking loss of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat” it was the democratic candidate lack of character charisma and not the President lack of influence that decided the outcome.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  27. Annie, Atlanta

    Obama made deals with Senators Specter and Lincoln, his support for their support of health care reform. He honored them, even with the anti-incumbent mood of the country, which shows integrity. Calling the election results a referendum on him sounds more like a GOP talking point. Some will buy in, and some won’t.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  28. hotpapa52

    These elections results are a direct failure of all incumbants to do their.job. It has been apparent in the past that the longer you have been in Washington the least likely you are to do the work for the people. The least likely you are to govern. The least likely you are to address, confront and resolve the problems that affect america.
    All incumbants should be thrown out, especially the republicans. They created so many of these issues and they are the least ones to try to resolve anything.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  29. Chase

    I think it is limited, and logically fallible, to suggest that any vote (aside from Presidential elections) is a referendum on the President. The truth is that the so-called "American People" don't really trust politicians regardless of their policies. It really isn't a matter of policies or political leanings. Instead, it is a matter of trust. The real referendum ought to be on congress itself, which consistently fails us as a legislative body. They don't care about fixing problems, they care about staying put at all costs. We don't, and shouldn't, trust them. Maybe one day they will earn our faith once more.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  30. Mike Mc

    Im not sure if its a referendum. Almost half of the country didn't vote for him back in 2008 and they are still bitter. Couple that with GOP obstructionism, deliberate misinformation campaigns and rampant conspiracy theories from the fringe right, and this is what you end up with.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  31. Jester Jersey from Davis, CA

    It just goes to show you how much people have little patience with the Democratic Party these days. President Obama had promised change, but it isn't coming fast enough, and the changes he has made have proved unpopular with many of his supporters. Just look at how healthcare turned out. It's hard to imagine what other changes he might be making that don't have the popular support of the people, i.e. immigration reform. If this keeps up, not only will Democrats lose both houses, but they might not have any Democrats in any of the houses, period. The people have spoken, and have decided to make the changes themselves because the politicians just can't do it themselves.

    Jester Jersey from Davis, CA

    May 19, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  32. A.J. Johnson

    The referendum is not on Pres. Obama its on the republicans and the tea party. Pennsylvania is still in the democratic column. Specter was a republican in democratic skin. The real dem won. Murtha's seat is still held by a democrat. Lincoln is a corporatist. The real story is Rand Paul who used the tea party to win a primary but when his real views are exposed, eg., gay rights, legalization of marijuana can he really win? The republicans created a monster they can't control.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  33. Gary

    It's the electorate that doesn't get it, Jack. They pull their attentions away from "Dancing with the Stars" and "Jersey Shore" long enough to catch a sound bite or two and then have the gall to vote. How else do you explain the mixed results of yesterday's voting? There is no trend. That would take thought.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  34. Cliff in Alabama

    Jack, the American people are in the same boat as most people who visit Vegas. They saw the chance for change, did not realize the odds, then rolled the dice. Now, two years later, they have very little to show for it. Unpopular decisions made late by Dems in Congress that care as little as the dealer at the card table does are now facing the music. And all the pit boss (Obama) can do is watch! America gambled and lost. Definitely time to regroup!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  35. Eric B in Metro Houston

    there are times Jack I wonder given what President Obama walked into last January if ANYTHING he would have tried to do would have been enough. Yeah I know we're tried of hearing the 'it's Bush's fault" cry but if Obama had..

    let the auto industry fail
    left Health care as is
    let the banks fail
    no stimulus money to try to do anything
    let foreclosures continue
    keep the war interest in Iraq

    where would we be now? Probably complaining about the job he's done just like many are doing right now.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  36. RICK

    President Obama is likeable enough - But his policies are "Change We Can't Believe In." No one buys changing the values of this country into a european system. We are not a socialist nation, and while the President may not be a socialist himself - his policies and those of the party in power, ARE.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  37. Dave

    Obama is on his way out. It is too bad we have to wait 2 1/2 years more of this moron.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  38. Paul, PE Canada

    These are volatile times and everything is being blown out of proportion, so its not really a referendum, but it is a reflection on him. While he may remain more popular than the congress he leads or the policies he initiates, ultimately the buck stop with him. Depending on the losses in November, President Obama will have to decide whether the Dems are better off with or without him in 2012.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  39. Ted

    Well Jack, why didn't you ask "To what extent are yesterday's election results a referendum on the GOP leadership?"

    President Obama obviously does not have a good record of pulling candidates (other than himself) across the finish line. But the GOP candidates of choice are not doing very well either so why focus only on the President?

    May 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  40. May

    I think President Obama should be listening. Yes the voters wanted help, but what they wanted most was jobs. Since President Obama took office, we have had nothing but a continual loss of jobs. We're a vast country, with many bright people, to have a President who thinks a one man show can get the job done (that is how he campaigned), is just not realistic, it is being proven now. Too many people are in this government administration for what they can get out of it, period. A government employee is a servant of the people, not a dictator.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  41. Alfonso

    It's not a referendum on Pres. Obama but rather on the rise of media-covered political immaturity, ignorance, fear and not-so-veiled racism. All this trash talk of socialism, death panels (Sarah Palin), etc. and wanting to abolish The Federal Reserve and the Dept. of Agriculture (Rand Paul) is so patently absurd it would be material for SNL if it unfortunately weren't all too real. Bumper-sticker, cliche politics riddled with lies and deceptions is hardly the substance needed to guide us in these difficult times.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  42. Marc

    I think they are a quick foreshadowing of the country's mood come November. I voted for Obama; he's shown intelligence, craftiness, and compassion, to name a few. Great qualities in a president.Common sense is not always there though. And he's losing support because of it.
    The Health Care reform bill is ridiculous; way too complicated, like 1200 pages? There's got to be an easier way to do this. People are smart. They want fair,cost-effective, common sense approaches to solving our big issues. The days of lobbyist laden, pork riddled, solutions is ending very soon.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  43. EE Wiese

    The election last night was a primary.IT WAS NOT A WIN for anybody.It certainly was not a referendum on President Obama. I hope the general election will be a complete and total defeat for the Republicans. Repulican principles,policies,and values are old hat and are not needed at this time in histoey. Gene

    May 19, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  44. Jason, Koloa HI

    Unlike the propagandists in the media who will say it is a referendum if it benefits their cause and the polarized talking head opposites who say it's not for the same reason, I don't know. What I do know is that people hate everybody in the governmnet and want them all out and as an Obama voter who is very disappointed in his performance so far, the truth is the gov't was broken way before Obama got there and anybody who is voting against dems just to spite Obama is most likely a racist or just a plain hater.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  45. Jeff in Houston

    It sure is Jack. Barack Obama and the Deomocrats have taken one of the biggest opportunties in history to set some things right and have failed on almost every issue. The Democrats, even with a supposedly strong leader, cannot join together as a group to get anything done, as opposed to the Republicans, who will alwasy join together to get the wrong thing done.

    Right now, I would say the Democrats deserve a major kick in their symbol, unless, of course, President Obama looks up the word leadership and the House and Senate look up the word loyalty. Somehow, I doubt either of those actions will occur. They will cower in the corner so the big bad Republicans and the tea-baggers will not hurt them.

    I have never been so ashamed fo a vote since I was naive enough to vote for Ronald Reagen.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  46. Lori - PA


    It's the Democratic Party as a whole. They promised change, and all we got was more of the same. What the American people wanted was ignored. The deficit is getting worse and worse. Plus they don't bother to read legislation before denouncing it (as is the case with AG Eric Holder) or voting on it (health care reform bill). It has to stop. That's why in November, many incumbents will most likely lose.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  47. Dave

    Obama's influence has decreased, significantly, and It will continue to decrease as the November election takes place. His batting average, for postively affecting elections for Democrats, is so low that he is probably going to be sent to the minor leagues by his own party.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  48. Dve McDougal

    It will be a sad day for all citizens if in the fall the voters vote out democrats or replublians. We are headed down a trail that we cant return when we have the so called Americans tea party voters.Not one tea party member likes what are forefathers did when writing up the constitution of the US. They want change but dont know what they want in DC/

    May 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  49. MikinAZ

    No matter John. We eleceted him to do a job for us, not for his party mates or to win polls – he gets at least the same consideration that moron gw got – let him do his job and let history be his judge.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  50. steve- virginia beach

    I don't think so but Obama is enough of the problem that Democrats aren't clamoring for him to campaign for them.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  51. Karl from SF, CA

    It is more of a referendum on Mitch McConnell, Dick Cheney and the Republican Party. Their endorsements seem to have lost their charm and turned into the kiss of death. The November vote will be the real test for Obama. Hopefully the White House will look at what the people really think [can you say Arlen Specter?] and back candidates that can actually win and get the job done. The old political machines aren’t as good as they used to be at convincing people who to vote for.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  52. Ovidio Barbour

    OK, Jack. You are starting to sound just like the Republicans. Are you too, getting paid by big money to get the Republicans back in office so they can stuff their pockets with the lower and middle class money.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  53. Delia

    Not a referendum on Obama!

    The new campaign slogan should be "THE STATUS QUO, MUST GO!"

    May 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  54. AZ Dem

    I think answer to that is yes. I think most the people are fed up with both parties and are out to clean house. Out with the old in with the new. Hopefully the new ones will be more for the people, instead of big business/corps.

    For many years both parties have failed to hear the people. For example here in AZ we have been complaining about illegal immigration for years and it's mostly landed on deaf ears.

    Well the State is doing something about it an boy oh boy are those politions on both sides screaming something awful. They are there supposedly working FOR THE PEOPLE, but they have failed in their services.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  55. gail

    The reason most people voted Republican is that they have no idea what medicare would mean for them and are too afraid to find out.
    Maybe if the government would have introduced medicare years ago he wouldn't be seen as a bad guy making all these bad choicesthat are meant to help. Demacrats and Republicans

    May 19, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  56. james pendleton

    i think that the election results are more a reflection of the voter's view of the particular candidates rather than the president. the votes were to sort out the democratic party's candidate and were not an opinion poll of the president.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  57. Larry

    Not at all. I voted against Spector but support President Obama precisely because I knew that Sestak would more loyally support the administration's agenda than Arlen ever would. Who hand-picked Sestak to run for Congress in the first place? Emanuel!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  58. dwgray88

    They are a referendum on everyone holding office. GTP incumbents are not doing any better. All elected officials should be paying attention to their constituents. And the fact that voters are willing to vote out some senior members with excellent track records of bring pork into their home states - means nothing is sacred.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  59. JT

    Jack, the results from last night are not a referendum on President Obama's administration but rather a shot across the bow of all public servants that they need to represent we the people!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  60. Norm

    Really? He's doing such a bad job? I don't think so Jack. He's doing pretty good considering the mess that GW and his Neo-Con buddies left.
    It's embarrassing. We are in the 21st Century but ignorance is king and if Obama has an Achille's heel it would be this. He tries to please people too much. The American people sent a very clear message in electing Obama. He should take that mantra and give the real Change that he promised. It's what the American people asked for in the first place.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  61. vikto

    It is a sign – President Obama's policies of push-through-and-shove does not bode well with American citizens. Americans are putting their sign on the door of the bank vault – Closed! No money, no spend, no more – you can't serve us, you can't come back.

    Sacramento CA

    May 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  62. Jenn

    Not referendum on Obama...will you finally get it–the people voted for Obama, if he becomes an unauthentic, caricature (perhaps he is already?), he will not get a second term. specter was a fraud for his cynical change of parties. The People are tired of the nonsense but have short term memories, if Obama and co get the economy turned around, he will get a second term...but will he even want it??

    May 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  63. Gail Evans

    The anger is coming from the fact that we are paying congress and nothing is getting done. Angry that Republicans are sitting on their hands and refuse to work with Democrats, and Democrats for letting them.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  64. Chaotician

    Very little probably; although a lot of his "base" is very, very disappointed with his continuation of despised and hated Bush policies; failure to charge, convict, and incarcerate the Bush cabal, the CIA torturers, and the "Black Ops" contractors, agents, bounty hunters, etc.; continuing the stupid, useless war of terror in Afghanistan and further destabilizing Pakistan in some misguided acceptance of a Pentagon which is unchanged from top to bottom and is clueless about world realities and the impossible belief in American hegemony and world domination!
    This is not the change I voted for and the only thing worse would be to elect a single Republican labeled traitor to any public office from dogcatcher to Senator! A revolution can be by a Constitutional Convention; the other choice is too terrible to contemplate!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  65. Fred from Canada

    I think it is a referendum on Obama but not necessarily a fair one. I cannot understand how one can expect to change in one year the number of issues that are facing the country.... Even with the changes he has tried to make, the benefits. if any, will probably take some time to play out..... If the DEM'S lose the sentate and house then I would expect very little will be done over the next 3 years as it will all get bogged down in political gamesmanship.... I wish the country would give him a chance but looking from here it seems there maybe little liklihood of that....

    May 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  66. Russ Bohse

    I think the recent elections in total represent the feelings toward Obama and the current administration. In all fairness even the republican incumbents will have trouble. People are tired of the business as usual.
    Time to deal with critical issues that effect us like Unemployment, education, budgets and ILLEGAL ALIENS. The tea party movements are frustrated american finally speaking out. Be careful the lion may roar.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  67. Marty

    I don't think it has anything at all to do with the President, but rather the gridlock in congress.. What you failed to mention is that there are a whole slew of Republican incumbents being defeated as well. We the people are just plain fed up with congress and, as much as you media folks would like to stir up controversy by pointing out specifics for each party, its a bi-partisan effort on behalf of us voters to get rid of them. I love it. It's how a democracy SHOULD work.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  68. Ron

    It isn't a referendum on the President Jack. It is a referendum on politicians that don't perform for the American people. However Jack, the American people should not forget who and how we got into some of the problems that are being faced by the country. it is easy to listen to the sound bites and forget about where the problems the President and Democratic congress are trying to solve. A good example of what is driving the anger is the current Wall Street/Banking reform that is being blocked by the Republicans. America wants this reform the Republicans are supporting corporate America.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  69. Betty Keller

    It isn't anti Obama results in the election. It is anti encumbant.
    I think Obama has enough on his plate without worrying about the congressional elections. If Congress would get off their posteriors and do what they were elected to do, they would hold their seats in congress. I for one believe in term limits for congress. If the Pres. is limited to 2 terms, so should every other elected official in this country.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  70. Gloria

    No!..The election was not a referendum om President Obama, it was a referendum on incumbents..Just as it was for the Republican races. Sistek's win, and Blanche Lincoln's run-off say that Dems as well as Republicans) want new blood!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  71. Sharon

    Zero. Zippo. None. Yesterday's election results had nothing to do with Obama.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  72. John R., Tampa

    Jack, The american people are very benevolent. We contribute to disasters around the world and within our country. However, when the federal Gov't starts telling us that we must pay the mortgage for irresponsible people, the wages of people that drove companies to bankruptcy, and the bonuses for people that helped bring us to the brink, it's time to dump the pres and all his cohorts in congress.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  73. Linda - NJ

    I think that we are looking at a reaction to our broken government more than a reaction to the President. It is not only democrats who are in peril for re-election as the races in Utah and Ky show Repubs are in trouble as well. Speaking of a referandum on Obama I've been around since JFK's days and I have never seen any President go through what Obama has gone through in terms of approval and electability. We know the right never respects the election of a democratic president but it has been disappointing to watch msm jump on the bandwagon just to improve their ratings in the Presidential election that never ended.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  74. Larry

    It all depends on who you ask jack. Top a progressive like me it a return to sanity. to a right winger it a total take over by carl Marx.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  75. SafetyHit

    To say that the knowledgeable and sane among us are relieved at this trend would be a massive understatement. Very thankfully, this country is not yet lost. We still do not fully possess the mindset of a socialist nation, contrary to what most of the media wants you to believe.

    Hopefully we never will. God Bless America.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  76. Ken in NC

    Since 01-20-09, everything has been a referendum on President Obama? When he tried to leave the White House this past winter in the snow and the tree limb fell on their motorcade, that was a referendum on President Obama.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  77. Liz from NH

    I don't think it's about Pres. Obama, Jack. I think it's about a frozen Congress that don't or won't follow their constitutes vote to support the President. After all, the people sent a message when they elected Obama. Unfortunately, the message didn't get through to the Congress. Maybe now it will. What's the message? Move!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  78. mitchyj

    What I think is laughable is how quickly Americans are willing to pull the trigger on Obama. He has been President for 17 months. Remember, he is cleaning up the mess of the most imcompetent, misguided administration in U.S. history. Like most catastrophies, this one will take some time to rectify.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  79. Pat. Virginia

    Yes. it shows that voters reject the health care reform that was cramed down our throat and all of his talk about immigration reform. We all know that is a politian's way of saying amnesty for all the illegals.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  80. Jim Bendo Sr,

    The handwriting is on the wall for the liberal big spenders, after November, see you later!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  81. steve- virginia beach

    No, Jack. It's a referendum on Bush and the Republicans. The Democrat's poor job performance throughout the last 3 1/2 years is entirely Bush's and the Republican's fault. Didn't you get the memo?

    May 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  82. Dan

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    This is not a referendum on Obama or the Democratic Party. Since Obama has taken office, there have been 7 special elections held to fill vacant representative seats in congress, and guess what, all 7 special elections have been won by Democrats. All this shows is that American's don't care about party line and are more likely to vote out incumbents.

    Columbia, Missouri

    May 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  83. Francie in SC

    My "tea leaves" say Obama and his Dems are cooked!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  84. Gigi Oregon

    Oregon showed in the elections that even being unhappy with the Federal Government we can keep calm and vote for the best candidate. And remember who did what in the past when the Republicans were in charge. And not be like lemmings and run into the sea of "Republican muck and mire". I was pleased to see Oregon was sane enough to have you leave them out of you report.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  85. Robert Albritton

    People who know anything about politics know that primaries dont say anything about the President. First, they represent a highly skewed sample of one party. Second, they attract the more extreme (but highly motivated) party members. Third, for strategic reasons, many of the voters may not even necessarily be Democrats. What seems to be missing in all the media discussion is that opposition to candidates is by no means the work of "Tea Party" types. Opposition to Specter came from the Left Wing of the Democratic Party, not a conservative revolt against "Big Government."But the most important fact is that primaries are not indicatve of anything at the national level. Sorry.
    Bob Albritton

    May 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  86. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    It is a referendum from people voicing their expectations of leadership on all officials and the ones who do not want to be near the President must have less leadership even if you question his; people need to look in the mirror about their leadership issues of working for the country. Citizens were ready and still are ready for firm and grounded leadership and different from the past decade of what I call before the 2008 election as being the loss decade(s) from refusing to learn from the past to change the present!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  87. Mike

    Why is everything a referendum on President Obama'a office? We sat by for eight years and allowed Dubya and his pit bull Cheny to loosen bank rules and financing laws which helped to send the country into the economic mess we are in now. They also took us into a war in Iraq spending billions in the process and wipeing out the surplus left from the Clinton years... and I voted for Bush in his first term!

    Give the President a chance, a little support and by all means some respect...the Hitler and Joker reference are really disrepectful not only to the man but also the position. There have always been changes in during the mid-term elections my goodness!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  88. Cousin Vinny Connecticut

    To a very large extent, Jack. Obama "came to bat" for Corzine in NJ, Deeds in Va, Coakley in Mass and Specter in Pa and they all lost! His admin is a joke! Holder wants to sue over the Az immigration law and HASN'T read it! Napolitano HASN'T read it. Ass't Secy of State Posner apologized to the Chinese (THE CHINESE!) for Az. law and Obama, just today, criticized it to a foreign leader, the Mexican Pres! (Have you seen Mexico's illegal immigration law?!) I've said it once and I'll say it again, Obama is the absolute worst Pres we have EVER had!! ONE TERM!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  89. Arlene, Illinois

    Now is the time for term limits, 4 in the House and 2 in the Senate.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  90. john mockus

    I don't think you get it Jack. Obamas approval rate is approximately 48%. Congress is in the 18% approval rate zone.
    The people are more fed up with the constant finger pointing by these two parties than anything else. Do you really think the tea party movement was just on obama. The republicans are tired of the republicans leaderships refusing everything. Specter doesn't even deserve an honorable mention in this debate. He is as phony being a democrat as all the " just keep my mouth in the trough" politicians. I'm from mass and an independant voter but i can't wait to kiss Kerry goodbye in 2012 .
    we need to replace them all and the American people Know It.

    john mockus

    May 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  91. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It's too soon to determine the extent of or if any referendum on President Obama due to yesterday's election. Remember President Obama is the same person who campaigned and won against those who had set a referendum for him.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  92. Bill Sweeden

    We voted in 08 for real change and we are voting in 10 because of the lack of it. The best thing Obama could do now is work like one term is all he's going to get.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  93. Terry, Indianapolis

    I think the American people are tired of having a Socialist agenda jammed down their throats. Health Care Reform will either be repealed or unrecognizable because the current projected model is unsustainable. Seriously, what company is going to keep their benefits if they can dump it on the government and create an extra $1B in profits for their shareholders (Verizon). Mandatory health insurance will cripple small businesses. The doctors are not going to have caps put on their incomes. There needs to be financial reform because the individual investor deserves a level playing field. The "too big to fail" companies can never be allowed to happen ever again! If we are going to redistribute wealth in this country then you will eventually see that no one will care if they work or not and then we will all be in trouble!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  94. Susan

    Not too much. I see it as more change across the board starting with Obama. Hilliary and McCain were more of the incumbent-type role than Obama. So, I see it as more a referendum on long-time established Washington politicians regardless of party.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  95. David

    I think the big thing is that the Tea Party has influenced the GOP to shift further right which will only shift the independents towards the dems. We have seen how effective Obama is at campaigning, don't write him off prior to this even starting.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  96. Ed from North Bay, Canada


    When 50% of the people are not getting along with the other 50%, the result is the current state of affairs in the US. Everyone in the US must place the country ahead of their personal needs if things are to improve. I believe President Obama does have the countries best interests at heart. I only wish we had a leader of such character.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  97. Tony in Chicago

    Jack, Barack was sold as the one who could unite American (not just politicians). In fact we are seeing the complete opposite, I am seeing the greatest divide in America I have seen in my life.

    Citizens are ignited about politics on all sides and parties. Obama has everyone trying to place the blame at each other which forces them to overlook the failures and solutions.

    The biggest joke of all, is that people are actually defending politicians as if they were related. Both sides need to wake up and realize that the people they are defending are thieves, adulterers, morally and ethically screwed up.

    Wake up people, do not tarnish your reputation with that of a scum-bag politician.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  98. Mysterious

    Jack, never in my life have I voted locally depending on what is going on in Washington. I vote for what the local candidates stand for, not on the current president (or Bush), or whoever is in power in Congress. It is strictly local.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  99. JANET

    Arlen Specter didn't lose because he was the incumbent – he lost because of his "swift-boat" tactics against his opponent and because way, way too many voters remember him as the loyal Bush republican who switched parties only to help with re-election.

    Obama's doing great; this veteran can't wait to vote for him again in 2012

    May 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  100. Big Bill

    It is about congress and the president. We were all so tired of Bush and Cheney's bloated and corrupt system that we all jumped on the "change" wagon. Almost 2 years and what has changed?

    Are we still in Iraq and Afghanistan? yes Economy still terrible? yes
    Wall Street still running unchecked? yes Healthcare still a mess? yes

    so where is the change? Even when the Dems had the majority in both houses they accomplished nothing because they were to busy fighting with each other. I have been an independent my whole life and cant think of a single incumbent I support right now.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  101. trythetruth

    Finally, the majority of Americans are tired of the lies of the politicans. The lies where brought to a peak with Obama and his clan provides ignorance with their lies.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  102. richard a. winkler

    To a large extent. Obama is not who I thought he was. He is Bush who can talk good, and he throws a bone to the people once in a while. Corporate money runs everything, and Obama is right in the middle of it.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  103. tonyvolu

    i dont think its a probllem, they voted against spector because of
    all the years he shot down the dems and tries to become one when his own party turned on him .do you think the dems are stupid?wake up we are in good shape even with the media and the ridiculous
    tea party against us.viva obama and the democrats.hey caff are you one of those high earners who are crying because they cant have all of the pie?let us know ?tony

    May 19, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  104. phil

    This is a referendum on out of control spending, out of touch
    legislation, and the leadership of our Congress, Senate, and President. The Democrats have held the House and Senate for almost 4 years, and the presidency for 1.5 years. The American electorate is giving this collection of "leaders" a failing grade.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  105. George from Iowa

    How can people only say that this is a voter backlash against our congressional officials. Why don't people realize that the President is part of the "screwed up system". Chicago style politics is allowed to prevail over what we citizens want.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  106. Ralph Spyer

    There is no fool like a old fool.

    Thrir is no fool like a old fool , How could the Democracy party support Arlen Spector He supported President Bush supreme court nominations and voted for them, he supported the war in Iraq, he supported Bush tax break for the supper rich and powerfull and he was Obama choice maybe Obama was not the right choise???


    May 19, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  107. John from Pennsylvania

    Not a referendum at all. Pennsylvania Democrats wanted a true Democrat...not Arlen Spector. Obama got wanted he needed for more than 12 months an extra vote in the Senate...all for supporting Spector. Now he gets a true Democrat hopefully for another 6 years. What more could Obama want.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  108. Bruce in VA

    Of course these elections are a referendum on Obama. They are also a referendum on the direction of the country and on Congress. Remember, polls show Obama to be personally popular (though I can't imagine why)...more popular than his policies.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  109. Diogenes

    We voted for Change (to fix how Washington does not work) and received the “I won” middle finger and got change (to the lib-o-crat dream platform). As Rand says We are taking back Our country.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  110. RickintheForest

    It's more of a harbinger of what is likely to take place in November. Yesterday wasn't so much a referendum on Obama or his policies (although that certainly played a big part in it) but an indication of how the voters feel about government and elected representatives as a whole.

    Summing it up: we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore. From any party.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  111. Ken

    No this was NOT a referendum on President Obama.
    It WAS a referendum on old politicians (both of them Republican)whose "Best Before" dates were up years ago!

    Had this been a referendum on the President, the old Murtha seat would have gone republican.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  112. Tony

    If we stay on the same far left course we are no on, Mr Obama will soon be as toxic to the Democratic Party as Bush was to the Republican Party – maybe even more so. If he had just gone slowly and governed instead of "ruled" he would still have most of his popularity left and this country would have been a whole lot better off.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  113. Jeremy Auburn, AL


    It's a referendum on Obama. It's a referendum on the House. It's a referendum on the Senate. The primaries that just took place and the elections to come in the fall are referendums on anyone who has only worked politically for their entire life and has been able to avoid life in the real world by doing so. Throw the bums out and get REAL people to replace them. Jack, you would be the first person I nominate.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  114. Farsight

    The elections results shouldn't be. I hope it is against mediocre performance on the part of members of congress regardless of the party affiliation. If the vote is a referendum on the President, it speaks of how easily the public is swayed by sound bits and how easily the public is fooled by the negative radical right campaign of half truths and sometimes blatant lies about the President.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  115. Jim Campbell

    Nope. I don't know how the press makes of this nonsense. Spector went dwon since his opponent was the true Democrat in the race. Paul won in Kentucky becaues his GOTV effort from the Tea Party was enough to win in a small turnout in a Republican Prmary. Blanche Lincoln will likely prevail on June 8th. The Democrates won every other election. It seems to me that the press is trying to read more into this than reasonable. As the late Speaker of the House, and my hero Tip O'neal said: "All politics is local." The outcomes in PA, KY and AK are proof of that fact.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  116. Gilbert in fresno

    It is a referendum only on America itself, as a whole. President Obama is but one man. He is at the helm, but congress is dragging it's feet to try and stop this vessel, the ones who fear change most. The American people are pulling in every other direction, not sure which way to go, confused by media and politicians and special interest groups.
    "Yes we can" sounded great until we all found out how hard it would be. The effort and the struggles. Let the words of Kennedy ring out "we do it not because it is easy, but because it is hard." And he was talking about going to the moon. And the change we need is just on the other side of that. When we begin to support our appointed leader, only then can we call any of this a referendum on President Obama. We're like children in the backseat, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" Let the man drive.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  117. Tanny

    Well Jack actions speak louder than the words. The biggest issue was the jobs and the reason jobs are gone because of the trade agreements and Obama didn't do anything about that. Secondly, he told the economy will be built from bottom up but I guess his bottom starts with wall street and not with average Joe and there are lot more average joes out there than wall street goons.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  118. Michael from Keller, Texas

    This is not a referendum on Obama but a referendum on old coots who have lost their way and will do whatever it takes to keep getting elected, including switching parties. People are not fooled by those who think that anything goes to keep your job, including lying and deceiving the country.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  119. Will

    I'll tell you what it's a referendum on Congress for all the nonsense The President is doing something. Jack you should be talking about Rand Paul who wants to repeal the Civil rights act and get rid of the department of agriculture. Talk about that instead of what fears the media is trying to create before November. The republicans have repeatedly told the President NO,when he tried to work with them on issues. The Democrats just sat back and said nothing to defend themselves, stand together and have a backbone.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  120. wbbg

    Sometimes change is for the worse. Take for example this Financial Regulations Bill that Dodd is trying to ram through today. It's given a nice name (just like the Patriot Act, or the health bill that was recently passed) and they market it as something that will prevent wall street from committing fraud again, but when you actually look at the details it actually gives more power to wall street. It gives immense powers to the Federal Reserve which is basically a special interest group for the banks, that is highly secretive and who was the chief cause of this current economic problems.

    So stop saying Bills aren't be passed as if it was a bad thing. Both the Democrat and Republicans pass Bills that benefit them and their friends, not us the American people. Change is not always a good thing!

    Read the Bills people and stop going by the titles of the Bills as they have nothing to do what's really in them.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm |