One finding on our last national poll may summarize more than anything else why 2010 is likely to be a very tough year for Democrats: only 24% of independents think the economy's better than it was a year ago. 49% think it's worse and 27% think it's about the same, and about the same isn't too good given where it was a year ago. They don't have much optimism for the future either. 24% think the economy will be better by November, 37% think it will be worse, and 39% think it will be in about the same poor position they perceive it to be in right now.
The way independents feel about the economy has serious implications for how they're planning to vote this year. The ones who think the economy's gotten worse in the least year are planning to vote for the GOP by a 53-6 margin. The ones who think it's about the same say they'll vote Republican 34-24. The ones who think it's gotten better say they'll vote Democratic 51-5 but of course that's the smallest group in the pot.
Democrats are losing with independents in pretty much every race in the country right now. That may abate in some races where Democrats have superior candidates by the fall, but the overall national trend is not likely to change until those independents start feeling more positive about the economy. Right now that doesn't seem very likely to happen.
Full results from this poll here