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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority


New Study Cites Surge In Student Support for Dems

According to the first national post-election survey of student participation in the 2004 election, the era of student apathy is over and the Democratic Party is the big winner. The poll, conducted by Schneiders/Della Volpe/Schulman from November 9-19, found that 77 percent of college students nation-wide said they voted on November 2nd, and they voted for John Kerry by a margin of 55-41 percent.
The poll also found that 62 percent of the respondents said they encouraged or helped someone else to vote, nearly double the figure for 2000. Interestingly, two-thirds of the respondents were registered in their home town. However, the third who were registered in their college’s towns turned out to vote at a slightly higher rate. John Kerry received a healthy majority of all student major groups, except those who majored in education, 51 percent of whom voted for Bush.

DLC Gurus Propose ‘Heartland Strategy’ to ‘Get the Red Out’

Democratic Leadership Council bigwigs Al From and Bruce Reed have an article in today’s Wall St. Journal, “Get the Red Out,” that rolls out a couple of fresh ideas for a Democratic resurgence. Along with their more predictable proposals and pot shots at Michael Moore and Joe Trippi, From and Reed propose a “Heartland Project,” which would include “family policies that give parents more time to raise their kids right,” a provocative idea that merits further exploration. They also advocate a new message strategy that gives more emphasis to the Democrats’ outsider status, as they “take up the reform mantle” and become “the party of change, protecting our principles, not our programs.” All Democrats may not be able to unite behind the DLC’s positions on Iraq policy, same-sex marriage and other issues, but Reed and From are thinking creatively about the Party’s future, and their ideas merit thoughtful consideration.

‘Moral Values’ Theory of Election Discredited in WaPo Article

Journalism 101 professors should require their students to read an excellent article in the Sunday Washington Post, “The Anatomy of Myth: How did one exit poll answer become the story of how Bush won?”. The author, Dick Meyer, editorial director of CBSNews.com, shreds the argument that concern about declining ‘moral values’ was the pivotal determinant of the 2004 presidential election. Meyer notes that responses to “a single dodgy exit poll question” ranking ‘moral values’ as the most important priority for 22% of exit poll respondents over economy/jobs (20%), terrorism (19%) and Iraq (15%) became the basis for a media bandwagon based on lazy reporting and thin suppositions about the meaning of the term.
Meyer likens the term to a “Rorschach test” holding a multitude of meanings for different people, “not a discrete, clear political issue to be set next to taxes or terrorism.” Reporters seized on the exit poll responses to the catch-all question as proof that voters were reacting to same-sex marriage, late-term abortion and other cultural concerns of the religious right. Yet to many voters, moral issues include the war in Iraq, personal integrity of the candidates, patriotism or helping the poor. Had the term “moral values” been broken down into such categories in the poll, or had terrorism and Iraq been combined, the ranking would likely have been quite different. As Meyer concludes “the moral values doctrine has morphed from a simple poll finding to a grand explanatory theory to gospel truth. This contaminated strain of punditry needs to be eradicated before it spreads further.”

The Nation Serves Feast for Victory-Hungry Dems

Progressives and Democrats seeking spiritual and intellectual nourishmant in the wake of the elections are invited to a grand buffet over at The Nation Online, where 25 writers and activist share their recipes for Democratic victory in “Looking Back, Looking Forward: A Forum.” Contributors include Robert Coles, Eric Foner, Susannah Heschel, Noam Chomsky, Medea Benjamin, Dan Carter, Theda Skocpol, Jonathan Kozol and other cutting-edge luminaries. The writers address a range of hot topics, including coaltion-building, faith and politics, ballot reform, candidate development, winning the Latino vote, broadening moral awareness, mobilizing to end the war in Iraq and educational reform, to name just a few issues of current concern.
In addition to the forum, The current online edition of The Nation features interesting posts on political strategy by editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Robert Borosage, James K. Galbraith, Robert Scheer and David Corn.

American Prospect’s RX For Dems

The current online edition of The American Prospect includes required reading for wonks, pundits and Democrats concerned about preparing for the ’06 and ’08 elections. A quartet of articles “Facing Up: The Democrats Must Confront What Ails Them,” by Garance Franke-Ruta, Sarah Wildman, Sarah Blustain and Matthew Yglesias, offers insightful diagnoses and cures for Democratic political myopia with respect to middle class priorities, abortion, foreign policy and same-sex marriage.
TAP’s current issue also includes perceptive articles on strategy and a range of issues bearing on the Party’s future health by Alan Brinkley, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Lizabeth Cohen, James Mann, Rick Perlstein, Anna Greenberg, Robert Kuttner, Harold Meyerson, Robert B. Reich, Jeff Faux, Robert Borosage and others.

Unmarried Women Now Key Element of Democratic Base

A recent Democracy Corps analysis by Anna Greenberg and Jennifer Berktold shows that unmarried women, 23 percent of the electorate in 2004, are becomming a strongly pro-Democratic constituency. Greenberg and Berktold report that unmarried women cast 62 percent of their ballots for John Kerry (vs. 44 percent of married women’s ballots), and they tend to hold significantly more liberal views than married women on major issues such as Iraq, the economy and womens’ rights.

Final Harris Poll Points to Kerry Victory

John Kerry leads George Bush 50-47 percent of nation-wide LV’s, according to the final Harris Interactive Online Survey, conducted 10/29-11/1. Kerry also leads Bush 48-47 percent of nation-wide LV’s, according to the final Harris Interactive Telephone Survey. Both poills indicate a surge for Kerry over the previous Harris Poll. The Harris report on the poll notes “If this trend is real, then Kerry may actually do better than these numbers suggest. In the past, presidential challengers tend to do better against an incumbent President among the undecided voters during the last three days of the elections, and that appears to be the case here. The reason: undecided voters are more often voters who dislike the President but do not know the challenger well enough to make a decision. When they decide, they frequently split 2:1 to 4:1 for the challenger.”
The Harris Poll in three key states also affirmed the strong likelihood of a Kerry victory:
Florida – Kerry leads 51-47 percent of LV’s
Pennsylvania – Kerry ahead 50-48 percent of LV’s
Ohio – Kerry up 51-47 percent of LV’s
As the Harris report concluded, “Assuming the forecast is correct, Kerry is likely to win all three large states, and almost certainly the White House along with it.”

Marist Poll: Kerry, Bush Tied Among RVs, Kerry Leads Among LVs

John Kerry and George Bush are tied at 48 percent of nation-wide RVs in a Marist Poll conducted 10/31. Among LVs, Kerry has a one point lead (49-48).

Des Moines Register Poll: Kerry Leads by 3 in Iowa

John Kerry leads George Bush in Iowa 48-45 percent of LV/AV’s, according to a Des Moines Register Poll conducted 10/25-9.

Kerry Leads in NH, PA, MN, Tied in NV, Down 4 in VA

Bush leads Kerry 51-47 percent of Virginia LV’s, according to a SurveyUSA Poll conducted 10/27-9.
John Kerry and George Bush are tied at 49 percent of Nevada LV’s, according to a SurveyUSA Poll conducted 10/28-9.
John Kerry leads George Bush 49-46 percent of New Hampshire LV’s, according to a Concord Monitor Poll conducted 10/26-28.
Kerry leads Bush 48-47 percent of Pennsylvania LV’s, according to a Temple/Inquirer Poll conducted 10/22-7.
Kerry leads Bush 49-41 percent of Minnesota LV’s, according to a Star-Tribune Poll conducted 10/26-9.