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Washington Matters

Unhappy by a Landslide

How badly has the financial crisis shaken the country? This badly: only 9% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going, according a new poll by Gallup. That's the lowest such rating since Gallup began asking the question. Obviously this is not good news for John McCain -- especially when you consider that the previous low was 12% in 1979. That was just a year before Jimmy Carter lost the White House to Ronald Reagan.

The consternation about the shape of the country helps to explain two other trends that spells real trouble for  Republicans.

First, Barack Obama has grabbed the lead from McCain among perhaps the single-most crucial bloc of voters, independentsA new Wall Street Journal-NBC poll shows independents favoring Obama by four points. Just two weeks ago the same poll gave McCain a 13-point lead among independents. The second key number from that poll would appear to be favorable to the GOP at first blush: McCain holds a 51%-40% among working class white voters, who make up roughly half of all voters. But that's a huge dropoff from the 18-point lead McCain had with the same group less than a month ago. In a separate story looking at the importance of these white voters and strategies being used to woo them, the Journal points out that Obama does not have to win in this group, but just do respectably. The story points out that when McCain had that nearly 20-point advantage last month, he and Obama were virtually tied in the overall race. Obama is leading by six points in the new survey.