Saturday, March 11, 2006


Some Hopeful Signs

The first sign appeared in today's mail, in the form of a link to a Democracy Corps poll:

In the most recent Democracy Corps poll and in virtually all its polls over the last six months, the Democrats are maintaining about an 8-point lead in the race for Congress. This is based not on the normal generic vote question, but using actual names for the incumbents. That represents an actual 10-point swing from 2004 in the vote for Congress — which is nearly as great a swing as the country witnessed in 1994. What shifts are producing these dramatic results? The most important shifts are taking place among the world of Republican loyalists, which will have big strategic consequences. It is reflected in the most recent Democracy Corps poll where defection of 2004 Bush voters to the Democrats is twice the level of defection of Kerry voters to the Republicans. Only 31 percent of voters in blue counties (those carried by Kerry) are voting Republican for Congress, but 41 percent of red county voters are supporting the Democratic candidate. The combined data set shows major shifts in the Deep South and rural areas (even before the most recent controversies), blue-collar white men, and the best educated married men with high incomes. There is no successful strategy for Republicans that does not try to win back those voters. They did consolidate at the end in the 2004 presidential election, but can they do this again with the president’s standing so low?
Answer: Not bloody likely. As the report concludes:
The shift in voting patterns for 2006 is now well-fixed over more than six months of polling. The analysis here, looking only at the combined surveys for January and February of this year, underscores changes so big that the political map has been altered. Democrats have a new audience amongst the many disillusioned Republican loyalist groups, which the Republicans will battle hard now to win back. That will be made more difficult by the struggles they have in the swing electorate where both the best-educated and older blue collar voters are moving fairly dramatically toward the Democrats. These patterns have changed the battle maps and likely where the big Senate and House contests will take place.
Another bit of good news came in the comments section of Atrios' thread on the silly GOP wankfest where John McCain so ill-advisedly chose to cuddle up to the man who backstabbed him and everything Mister "Keating Five" Straight Talk claims to value (emphases mine):
It's not as important who emerges as the candidate, as that he's a bloody mess after a primary season of utter fratricide. fourmorewars | 03.12.06 - 12:24 am | # ----- fourmorewars, you might be right. By this time in 1998, Bush was already locking folks up. If the Republican nomination isn't sewn up by early '07 (other than formalities) you should be able to suspect fratricide and THEN some. I doubt even the Dobson's of the Right will agree this go-round. And with half the field running TOWARDS Bush's policies and half running FROM Bush's creepy coattails, they won't have any choice but to beat the hell out of each other. progprog | Homepage | 03.12.06 - 12:33 am | #
In 1998 and 1999, Bush's money and his daddy made him seem utterly unstoppable, even though Liddy Dole was outpolling him early on until her hubby found the horse's head in his bed and got the message to sabotage her campaign. There were a few Republicans out there -- namely Tucker Carlson, who wrote the subtly damning September 1999 Talk piece on Bush (it no longer exists online, as Talk magazine folded some years ago, but here's a reference to it), and George Will, who was just about the only employee of a mainstream paper to notice it -- who were worried that Shrub was simply too crude and too stupid even to say his lines, but they underestimated the ability of Karl Rove to buy off the press. But there aren't any Republicans out there this year that have campaign machines as malevolently well-oiled as was Team Bush's in the late '90s. There are, however, as the Democracy Corps poll noted, a lot of Republicans trying to decide if they should run from or embrace Bush, which is why McCain's cockeyed embrace of Bush is good news for us. By propping up Bush at a time when running full-tilt from him is the smartest thing a Republican can do, McCain's ensured that the embrace-Bush faction will remain strong enough to keep the run-from-Bush faction from winning the battle for the GOP's soul. He's also ensured that there will be a bloody conflict between the run-away and the embrace-Bush factions. And that will work out very, very nicely for us.

Great post. Its a good sign but I worry about these Beltway Dems. I'm not sure if they want to give up their kennel. I can see them trying to do everything possible NOT to win.
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