It's going to hurt the Democrats quite a bit this election cycle:
The one exception to this bad Democratic news is blacks. They continue to approve of the president at near-unanimous levels. But blacks midterm turnout is also traditionally low compared to white and older voters.
Blacks were 13 percent of the vote in 2008. But blacks were only about 10 percent of the vote in recent midterm election years -- like 1994, 1998 and 2006. And if the races since 2008 are any indication, the black vote is unlikely to break historic-midterm trends. This is where Obama's absence from the ballot matters most.
But what if Obama is actually able to increase black turnout this year? The Democratic majority is most-vulnerable in the House. But Obama's base, particularly with blacks, is concentrated in secure Democratic districts. In other words, blacks are not sizable factors in the districts in which Democrats need them most.
This was part of an article by David Paul Kuhn on the problems with using Obama's base voters to shore up the current Democratic House majority. The short answer is, the Democrats can't, really: the first group (young voters) are both less enthused about voting in general, and less enthused about voting for Democrats; and the second group (African-American voters) are traditionally also less likely to vote in midterms - and, unlike youth voters, African-American voters are 'clumped' into already-Democratic districts that were unlikely to flip anyway. The White House is supposedly going to counter this with a 50 million dollar project to convince voters to turn out for Democrats in 2010 with the same intensity that they did for Obama in 2008; I say 'supposedly' because people might consider me cynical for thinking that the real reason for this project is to use Democratic party money to set up a program primarily designed to get the President reelected in 2012...
But I get ahead of myself. For now, just savor this: in their quest to guarantee themselves a minimum presence in Congress, the Democrats have made keeping a majority in Congress nigh-impossible.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.