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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems Up Double Digits in Congressional Races

by EDM Staff
The latest ABC News/Washington Post Poll should keep the National Republican Congressional Committee spin doctors busy. The poll found that 52 percent of registered voters say they would vote for the Democrat in their congressional district if the election “were being held today,” compared to 37 percent for Republican candidates. The poll, which was conducted 10/30-11/2, also reported that 55 percent of Americans said they would like to see Democrats “in control of Congress after the congressional elections a year from now,” compared to 37 percent for Republicans.
In their Sunday WaPo article “Voter Anger Might Mean an Electoral Shift in ’06,” writers Dan Balz, Shailagh Murray and Peter Slevin ventured “many strategists say that if the public mood further darkens, Republican majorities in the House and Senate could be at risk…A Democratic takeover of either the House or Senate is not out of the question.
Reviewing the poll data, the authors see signs of a political reallighnment:

None of these results can be used to predict the future, but together they explain why many GOP strategists privately are in such an anxious mood. One claimed that this is the most sour environment for the party in power since 1994, when Democrats lost 53 House and seven Senate seats and surrendered their majority. Another said Republicans have not faced such potential backlash since 1982, when the party lost 26 House seats in the midst of a recession.

With less than a year to go before the ’06 elections, Dems have good reasons to be optimistic. But the poll did offer a cautionary clue for Dems looking toward ’08. Asked which party had “stronger” leaders, respondents picked the GOP with 51 percent, compared to 35 percent for Dems. Between now and the next presidential primary season, Dem candidates should work harder on projecting elements of perceived strength, such as clarity and consistency.