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Cook: Summer 'out of control' for WH

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Political guru Charlie Cook writes that the president's poll approval slide (to about 51%) is evidence that "the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and Congressional Democrats."

He writes that the Cook Political Report congressional model currently shows Dems losing a net of six to 12 seats in 2010, "but our sense, factoring in macro-political dynamics is that this is far too low." 

Here's what Cook wrote today in full:

For those of you not addicted to the 1:00pm EDT daily release of Gallup's three-night moving average tracking poll, President Obama's job approval rating in both their August 16-18 and August 17-19 averages was just 51 percent, the lowest level of his presidency. The latter sampling showed his disapproval up to 42 percent, matching his all-time low hit in the August 15-17 tracking poll. The 51% job approval rating is identical to two other polls released in recent days conducted by NBC News and the Pew Research Center. Today's regression-based trend estimate computed by our friends at Pollster.com from all major national surveys show an approval rating of 50.7 percent and disapproval of 43.7 percent.

These data confirm anecdotal evidence, and our own view, that the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and Congressional Democrats. Today, The Cook Political Report's Congressional election model, based on individual races, is pointing toward a net Democratic loss of between six and 12 seats, but our sense, factoring in macro-political dynamics is that this is far too low.

Many veteran Congressional election watchers, including Democratic ones, report an eerie sense of déjà vu, with a consensus forming that the chances of Democratic losses going higher than 20 seats is just as good as the chances of Democratic losses going lower than 20 seats. A new Gallup poll that shows Congress' job disapproval at 70 percent among independents should provide little solace to Democrats. In the same poll, Congressional approval among independents is at 22 percent, with 31 percent approving overall, and 62 percent disapproving.

That all of this is happening against a backdrop of an economy that appears to be rebounding and a resurgent stock market underscores how much the President's and his party's legislative agenda have contributed to these poor poll numbers.

We believe it would be a mistake to underestimate the impact that this mood will have on Members of Congress of both parties when they return to Washington in September, if it persists through the end of the Congressional recess.