President Obama expressed concern Thursday about his party’s prospects in midterm elections, when traditionally Democratic voting blocs are less likely to head to the polls than during presidential contests.
“In midterms we get clobbered – either because we don’t think it’s important or we’ve become so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while,” Obama said at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising dinner in Miami, according to a White House transcript of his remarks.
“The challenge is that our politics in Washington have become so toxic that people just lose faith and finally they just say: ‘You know what? I’m not interested, I’m not going to bother, I’m not going to vote,’” Obama added.
Democrats face an uphill battle in the midterm races, according to the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Forty-one percent of respondents said their vote in this year’s midterm election would not relate to Obama, and one-third said they would cast a ballot in opposition to him.
Additionally, Obama’s approval rating dropped to a record low of 41% in the March poll.
Both parties poured millions of dollars into a special election in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, which Republican David Jolly won last week. Republicans, who plan to frame the next presidential election as a referendum on Obamacare, are aiming to unseat Democratic incumbents in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina – all states that Obama lost in 2012.
House Democrats raised $6.4 million in February, $1 million more than their Republican peers, who came in with $5.1 million for the month.
The president also spoke Thursday about his visit to Valencia Community College in Orlando, where he met with women who spoke of overcoming adversity.
“We experience those things because previous generations have poured that same effort and blood and sweat and tears, and had the same kinds of dreams for us. And as a consequence, in this country, we have made it,” Obama said. “But it’s also been because we had a society and a government that at critical junctures said: ‘You know what, let’s give you a hand up.’ ”
“I’m not on the ballot this time, but I didn’t get into politics just for the office,” Obama added. “I got into it because I believe in what we’re fighting for. But I can’t do it alone.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee will host its annual fund-raising dinner on March 26.