Much focus has been placed on national indicators of where blame will fall for this week’s government shutdown, yet state by state numbers are the heart of long-term 2014 political implications.
Polling data shows 46 percent of Peach State respondents blame President Obama and congressional Democrats, compared to 39 percent for Republicans.
At the heart of the shutdown, of course, is Obamacare and the president who counts it his signature legislative accomplishment, both of which remain deeply unpopular in Georgia.
Some 54 percent of Georgians expressed an unfavorable opinion of Obama in July. Conversely, a poll conducted last week tapped Obamacare’s support at a meager 39 percent.
Meanwhile, Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) calling the law a “dream come true,” Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) this week vowing “people will love it more than they already do,” and the healthcare exchange’s launch is riddled with “glitches,” at best.
Needless to say, it’s going to be awkward for Michelle Nunn to credibly claim she’s a voice independent of party and president.
Thus far, she’s toed a centrist line, attempting to fill campaign coffers with usual overtures of a candidate playing a hand of distance from party, decrying each side of the aisle as not serious about “the very real imperative to address our growing national debt.”
As for Obamacare, Nunn calls it “difficult for small businesses” but refuses to call for its full repeal, nor cite specific aspects requiring maintenance.
Such tact is expected from a candidate in her position, yet further underscores the challenge confronting a Democrat in a state that’s not elected a non-incumbent of such ilk statewide in fifteen years.
Virtually every aspect of Nunn’s party identification is at odds with the bulk of Georgians; this is just the latest example.
Echoing her famous father, she swiftly named herself a backer of military intervention in Syria, though President Obama didn’t get a mention in the press release, just Georgia’s current Republican senators Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson.
Within a week’s time, the latter formally announced opposition and polling data showed 54 percent of Georgians opposed.
As for Nunn, she was spotted dining near K Street during Obama’s address to the nation.
EMILY’s List was one of the earliest groups to formally endorse the Democrats’ best Georgia hope, a fact her camp maintained essential radio silence on publicly, preferring headlines highlighting a “What Washington Can Learn From Georgia” tour to a pro-abortion group’s endorsement.
Until targeted Facebook ads touting the endorsement and challenging users to help her “keep fighting for the issues that matter to women and families” were spotted.
Georgia’s had a 20-week abortion ban in place for well over a year.
Nunn’s campaign rollout also found messaging hampered by the realities of politics in the digital age.
Neither the aforementioned launch interview nor a press release made mention of the word “Democrat,” yet more Facebook ads cited her candidacy as key to helping “keep the Democratic majority.”
All of which serves to blaze an early trail of Michelle Nunn’s effort being haunted by the party with which she’s chosen to identify.
To boot, an entire statewide slate of Republicans are considered re-election locks; does anyone really think enough voters will break at the top of the ballot to give Michelle Nunn the margin she needs? Demographic changes swirling about Georgia likely mean purple shades in several years, but a lower-turnout midterm cycle as its harbinger looks to be an unattainable perfect storm.
Howell is an account director at Hynes Communications and a contributor to the Peach State political blog Georgia Tipsheet.