Saturday :: Oct 14, 2006

Open Thread - Will The Democrats Win Dozens Of Seats?

by Steve

As we get closer to the midterms, you will see more and more polls and predictions about how thing will go. The GOP is putting the word out that they are preparing to lose only seven seats in the House, while the White House isn’t planning at all for a Democratic House. Whether it is because they have Diebold, ES&S, or Sequoia systems in the most competitive districts, or because they are being ostriches, Charlie Cook thinks that the GOP and White House are whistling past the graveyard this year. Cook’s overview of the House races released today shows that Cook thinks the GOP is headed for a serious setback next month. Cook also agrees with James Carville, that the Democrats are poised to pick up dozens of seats next month and should borrow money to pump into second and third-tier races that were previously thought unwinnable.

Let's get the disclaimer out of the way: there are 25 days between now and the November 7 election and things could well change, making what follows obsolete.
That said, this is without question the worst political situation for the GOP since the Watergate disaster in 1974. I think a 30-seat gain today for Democrats is more likely to occur than a 15-seat gain, the minimum that would tip the majority. The chances of that number going higher are also strong, unless something occurs that fundamentally changes the dynamic of this election. This is what Republican strategists' nightmares look like.
Whether one looks at national or district-level polling data, or a survey like the new Democracy Corps survey that covered the 49 most vulnerable GOP districts, the conclusion remains the same: it is very ugly for Republicans.
On a conference call today, James Carville suggested that the Democratic Party should expand beyond just the top targeted races. He believes the party should help fund previously ignored Democratic challengers in second- and third-tier districts--the next 30 to 50 Republican-held seats--to fully capitalize on this environment and help those candidates maximize their chances of winning. Carville went as far as to suggest Democrats go to the bank and borrow $5 million. If I were them, I'd make it $10 million and put $500,000 each of these 20 districts.
For Republicans, it is a time to defend every seat, no matter how secure those seats appear. If things don't change, GOP incumbents, who never even contemplated having a difficult race, may well lose this year. And if I were a Republican, I'd start praying that something happens to take the spotlight away from Iraq and scandals, because this current issue mix is lethal.
One of the things that the GOP counts on each cycle is to drive their base from the pews to the polls using wedge issues. However, the New York Times notes in Saturday’s paper that opposition to gay marriage won’t work this year like it did amongst the wingers in 2004.

OK, it's your turn.

Steve :: 12:00 AM :: Comments (65) :: Digg It!