For Once, the No Spin Zone: Times Lead Poll Story Shows Big Gains for GOP

With the mid-term elections five days away, there wasn't much room for spin in the latest findings from the New York Times/CBS News poll, which led Thursday's edition with bad news for President Obama and congressional Democrats: "Coalition That Vaulted Democrats Into Power Has Frayed, Poll Finds - Republicans Seen Gaining With Women, Catholics and Independent Voters."

Reporters Jim Rutenberg and Megan Thee-Brenan informed their surely disheartened readership that Democrats are losing among all sorts of groups, even women.

Critical parts of the coalition that delivered President Obama to the White House in 2008 and gave Democrats control of Congress in 2006 are switching their allegiance to the Republicans in the final phase of the midterm Congressional elections, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Republicans have wiped out the advantage held by Democrats in recent election cycles among women, Roman Catholics, less affluent Americans and independents. All of those groups broke for Mr. Obama in 2008 and for Congressional Democrats when they grabbed both chambers from the Republicans four years ago, according to exit polls.

If women choose Republicans over Democrats in House races on Tuesday, it will be the first time they have done so since exit polls began tracking the breakdown in 1982.

One finding leapt out, suggesting the fear that a lingering recession would lead to class envy is misplaced. Support for Obama's tax hike on "the rich" has "declined substantially over the course of this year."

While almost 9 in 10 respondents said they considered government spending to be an important issue, and more than half said they favored smaller government offering fewer services, there was no consensus on what programs should be cut. There was clear opposition to addressing one of the government's biggest long-term challenges - the growing costs of paying Social Security benefits - by raising the retirement age or reducing benefits for future retirees. Support for one of Mr. Obama's main economic proposals - raising taxes on income above $250,000 a year - has declined substantially over the course of this year.

You can follow Times Watch on Twitter.