Sunday, October 15, 2006

a meltdown of biblical proportions

Democracy Corps (pdf):
We do not often get to write such a report — changes so large over such a short period that they certainly portend a whole new playing field for the November election. This survey of 1,200 likely voters was conducted in only Republican-held seats, yet Democrats are ahead by 4 points overall in the named congressional vote (49 to 45 percent); indeed, they are ahead by 2 points (48 to 46 percent) in the bottom tier of presumably safest seats.

This vote represents a dramatic change in the state of the race over the last two weeks. The end of the Congress — with the increased pessimism and anger about Iraq and the Foley scandal and subsequent partisan brawl — has moved voters to shift their assessments of the parties and their votes. The 1994 election broke at the end; this one just broke. The shift is evident on every indicator — party, Bush, war, intensity and morale.

The shift this poll shows in the Republican held seats reflects a dramatic change nationally in the generic congressional ballot. On Monday, Democracy Corps will release a report that shows that a 5-point swing on average to the Democrats in the ten media polls conducted in October. The Democratic vote, stuck at 49 percent for months, suddenly jumped to 53 percent in the last two weeks.

We highlight these findings this Friday afternoon because Democrats and progressives need to think radically differently about the 2006 battle — in this three-week window. In 1994, the race shifted dramatically at the end, but Democrats have a chance to consolidate gains large enough to affect congressional control over this decade. That means allocating resources and
finding new resources to lock in the gains, as the Republicans move their much greater resources up to the new barricades.
The result is the lowest scores in more than a decade for the Republicans and the Congress; a president in people’s faces who is more unpopular than any president in memory, a likely electorate even more Democratic than the broad electorate; and an across the board shift in the vote across Republican districts.

This meltdown is real but given its timing, an immense opportunity for Democrats to move strategically to consolidate gains at an unimagined level.

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