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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dem Hopes Rise Amid Limp GOP ’06 Campaign

by EDM Staff
Ezra Klein has a post in TAPPED on the recent NRCC memo to the House GOP conference, trumpeting unbridled bravado about their ability to retain their congressional majorities in next year’s elections. Natch, the memo lists all of the Republicans assets, such as cash, incumbency and limited playing field. The memo was undoubtedly a response to recent comments by twitchy Republicans expressing concern about Bush’s approval ratings, the Iraq quagmire and the strong possibility of perp walks by GOP leaders in the months ahead. For a more realistic assessment, check out Charles Babington and Chris Cillizza’s piece in today’s WaPo, “For GOP, Election Anxiety Mounts.” Among other factors, the authors cite:

…Republican operatives, including some who work closely with the White House, privately point to what they regard as a lackluster performance by Sen. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group that heads fundraising and candidate recruitment for GOP senators.
But some strategists more sympathetic to Dole point the finger right back. With an unpopular war in Iraq, ethical controversies shadowing top Republicans in the House and Senate, and President Bush suffering the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, the waters look less inviting to politicians deciding whether to plunge into an election bid. Additionally, some Capitol Hill operatives complain that preoccupied senior White House officials have been less engaged in candidate recruitment than they were for the 2002 and 2004 elections

Cillizza and Babington provide some interesting thumbnail sketches of GOP candidate recruitment problems in various states. They could have also cited recent polls asking respondents which party they would vote for in their congressional districts if the election were held today. Polling Report has the results of polls taken during the last month that show Dem leads on this question at 5,8,9, 8 and 12 percent in polls by Newsweek, Fox News, Democracy Corps, The Winston Group and Pew Research Center respectively.