The NY Times headlines great news for the Democrats!
Poll Finds Most Americans Displeased With Congress
Dead Tree readers of a liberal persuasion get even more encouragement in this version, (sub heds not on-line):
Only 25% in Poll Approve of the Congress
An Echo of 1994 Findings
Links to Special Interests Are cited - Standing of Bush Also Lags
The Democrats are going to party like its 1994! Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder return to this in the second paragraph:
The disdain for Congress is as intense as it has been since 1994, when Republicans captured 52 seats to end 40 years of Democratic control of the House and retook the Senate as well.
It is not until paragraph five that Times readers get a whiff of reality:
What is more, it seems highly unlikely Democrats will experience a sweep similar to the one Republicans experienced in 1994. Most analysts judge only about 40 House seats to be in play at the moment, compared with over 100 seats in play at this point 12 years ago, in large part because redistricting has created more safe seats for both parties.
One of the many things we love about the Times is that it has a comprehensive guide to the election, including current projections for Senate, House, and Gubernatorial elections. However, the Nagourney/Elder on-line story does not include a link to that feature. Why not? I can't even guess (but I will!) - maybe the Times only feels comfortable doling out exposure to reality in small doses. [In that case, Times readers really don't want to see this LA Times story based on a Times/Bloomberg poll: "Bush and GOP Making Gains Among Voters"]
Anyway, per the NY Times election guide, the House races look like this:
Safe Dem, 189; Leaning Dem, 18; Toss-up, 15; Leaning Rep, 22; Safe Rep, 191
When we posted on this on Sept 4, the Times called the races as follows:
Safe Dem, 189; Leaning Dem, 17; Toss-Up, 16; Leaning Rep, 21; Safe Rep, 192
So in roughly two weeks a "Leaning Dem" has become a toss-up and a Safe Rep has migrated to "Leaning Rep". Tear out the front page.
With today's numbers, to get to a majority of 218 the Dems need to win every safe and leaning seat and pick up 12 of the 16 toss-ups. Not exactly a shoo-in.
Now, the obvious reason that this will not be 1994 is that the Democrats have not been able to unite behind any strong message other than "We Are Not Bush" (Maybe Hugo Chavez of Venezuela can help them liven that up a bit). Nagourney and Elder tackle this head on in paragraph, hmm, thirteen:
In the poll, 50 percent said they would support a Democrat in the fall Congressional elections, compared with 35 percent who said they would support a Republican. But the poll found that Democrats continued to struggle to offer a strong case for turning government control over to them; only 38 percent said the Democrats had a clear plan for how they would run the country, compared with 45 percent who said the Republicans had offered a clear plan.
Following their 2002 debacle the Democrats were criticized for trying to beat something with nothing. I'll reiterate - here we go again. To win this election the Democrats need to run against George Bush and run away from their base; it's hard to do both.
DID BUSH MOVE THE NEEDLE? Nagourney and Elder say no:
The Times/CBS News poll also found that President Bush did not improve his own or his party’s standing through the intense campaign of speeches he made and events he attended surrounding the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
McQ at Q&O says yes, but all he has as evidence are the poll results themselves - where are the years of journalistic experience that Nagourney, Elder, and the Times editors bring to the table? Evidence? C'mon, we are talking about the reality-based community here.
MEANWHILE, ON THE OTHER COAST: From the LA Times:
Bush and GOP Making Gains Among Voters
The LA TImes explains that, while the absolue levels are not good for the Reps, the direction of the poll results suggest the tide is now running in the Republican's favor:
WASHINGTON — President Bush's approval rating has reached its highest level since January, helping to boost the Republican Party's image across a range of domestic and national security issues just seven weeks before this year's midterm election, a new Times/Bloomberg poll has found.
The survey spotlights a continuing array of Republican vulnerabilities, but it also offers the first evidence in months that the GOP may be gaining momentum before November's battle for control of Congress.
Democrats hold a lead in the poll, 49% to 39%, when registered voters are asked which party they intend to support for Congress this year. But that advantage may rest on softening ground: On virtually every comparison between the parties measured in the survey, Republicans have improved their position since early summer.
In particular, Republicans have nearly doubled their advantage when voters are asked which party they trust most to protect the nation against terrorism — the thrust of Bush's public relations blitz in recent weeks.