Democrats may have succeeded in cobbling together the needed votes to filibuster a resolution of disapproval on the Iran nuclear deal, but it doesn’t mean that they can simply put the issue behind them. Poll after polls shows that voters disapprove of the agreement and wanted Congress to vote against it, which could signal trouble in the crucial 2016 elections.
Take, for instance, a new Pew poll, which finds that support for the Iran deal has fallen 12 percentage points (from 33% to 21%), while disapproval has also risen substantially (from 45% to 49%). Moreover, the results show that the declining poll numbers come from across the partisan divide. Democrat support fell by 8 percent, Republican support fell by 7 percent, and independent support fell by 11 percent.
Or, take the latest results of a CNN poll, which finds that increasing numbers of Americans want Congress to oppose the deal:
A growing majority of Americans are turning against the nuclear deal with Iran and believe Congress should reject the deal brokered between the U.S., five other world powers and Iran.
As Congress inches closer to a vote to approve or disapprove of the deal, 56% of Americans now say they think Congress should reject the deal with Iran — up from 52% less than a month ago — according to the latest CNN/ORC poll released Thursday.
And 6-in-10 Americans also disapprove of President Barack Obama’s handling of the U.S. relationship with Iran, according to the poll.
The decline in support and the increase in those encouraging Congress to oppose the deal could be explained by the results of a new Monmouth University poll, which shows profound distrust that Iran will live up to the agreement. Specifically, the poll found that more than four-in-ten (41%) of the public believe that Iran got more of what it wanted from the deal, while only 14 percent say the same of the United States. And more than 6-in10 (61%) Americans say they do not trust Iran to abide by the terms of the agreement.
What impact will these disastrous poll numbers have on Democrats in 2016? The Wall Street Journal’s Dan Henninger hazards a guess:
It’s a long way to November 2016. Maybe by then Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will lie down with the lamb and Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani will order his Middle Eastern storm troopers back to their barracks. Of course they won’t, and so congressional Democrats could pay a high political price for their de facto alliance with Iran.
In 2014’s midterm elections, fealty to Mr. Obama’s health-care law contributed a lot to ending the political careers of Senators Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall in Colorado and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Republican Joni Ernst picked up Iowa’s open Senate seat running hard against ObamaCare.
In 2016, Democrats are thought to be defending only two competitive seats—Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado and Harry Reid’s vacated Nevada seat. But the Iran deal’s nonsupport and high potential for risk could put into play retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s open Maryland seat or Washington state 24-year incumbent Sen. Patty Murray, who won in 2010 with 52.3%.
Of course, it could also make it much more difficult for Democrats to capture the numerous Republican-held seats where they hoped to be playing offense.
For instance, in Florida, where Rep. Patrick Murphy is attempting to fill the void left by Sen. Marco Rubio, he’s already being derided for saying the deal would help lead to “peace in our time,” a phrase that was used by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain after he struck an appeasement deal with Adolf Hitler.
And in Ohio, where voters oppose the deal by a 58 to 24 percent margin and Sen. Rob Portman, has vocally condemned the deal while also highlighting his opponent’s support.
And in Pennsylvania, where a new Quinnipiac poll finds that 61 percent of Keystone State residents oppose the deal with Iran, Democrat candidates Katie McGinty and Joe Sestak have both voiced their support.
Without these key swing states, Democrats’ hopes of recapturing the Senate become very slim. But for Republicans, even that is a poor consolation prize for the lasting regional instability that this deal will create in the Middle East.