Democrats giddy with possibilities only six months ago now confront a perilous 2010 landscape signaled by troublesome signs of President Barack Obamaís political mortality, the plunging popularity of many governors and rising disquiet among many vulnerable House Democrats.




The issue advantage has shifted as well, with Democrats facing the brunt of criticism about the pace of stimulus package spending, anxiety over rising unemployment rates and widespread uneasiness over the twin pillars of Obamaís legislative agenda: his cap-and-trade approach to climate change and the emerging health care bill.




Bolstered by historical trends that work in the GOPís favor ó midterm elections are typically hostile to the party in power ó and the prospect of the first election in a decade without former President George W. Bush either on the ballot or in office, Republicans find themselves on the offensive for the first time since 2004.