Why independent voters will decide the outcome of the 2010 elections

Last month, the independent voters of Massachusetts unleashed their frustration with the Obama administration by electing a Republican to a seat held by the Democrats for almost 50 years.

Republicans should not think that the Massachusetts win means voters have seen the light and are returning to the GOP. Remember, in the Bay State Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1 and independents outnumber the Democrats 2 to 1.

Senator-elect Scott Brown’s win is a backlash against the Democratic Party on the national level, no matter how the White House tries to spin it. Independent voters have always been conservative when it comes to fiscal issues and they aren’t too keen for big government.

In 1994, independents and soft partisans were tired of the tax and spend liberals in DC and were not so sure about “HillaryCare” (sound familiar?) so they voted in the GOP.

Mr. Brown’s win should make the remaining Democratic senators who are up for re-election this year quiver. They may have the support of their base but the independent voter is watching and will be out in force. At this point, the GOP should be able to hold on to most of their open seats. The states of Missouri, Ohio and New Hampshire could be in play, but right now the GOP candidates have a strong lead in each race.

Senators Boxer (CA), Reid (NV), Lincoln (AR), Bayh (IN), Landrieu (LA), and Specter (PA) are all in trouble. Sen. Boxer only has a 46 percent favorable rating and Sen. Specter will face challenges in his own primary. Sen. Bayh comes from a conservative state but with his record he could win again. Sen. Lincoln has voted against the will of the people one too many times and Sen. Landrieu was bought off, again defying the will of the people of her state.

Right now Senators Murray (WA), Wyden (OR) and Feingold (WI) don’t have much competition, but if Massachusetts can go red, then so can they. The seats of New York, Delaware, Illinois and Colorado currently have senators who were appointed, so this will be the first time they will face the people. It’s possible that we will see GOP pick-ups in at least Delaware, Illinois, and Colorado.

It’s easily conceivable that the GOP will regain control of the House and could pick up enough seats in the Senate for a 50/50 split. With the wrath of the independent voter on hand, Democrats might actually have to work for re-election.

Laura Lunsford

Fayetteville, Ga.

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