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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Conflicting polls: A USA Today/Pew poll conducted April 23-7 indicates that Republicans have a 4-point edge (47-43 percent) over Dems, when asked “If the election were held today, would you vote/lean toward the Republican candidate or the Democratic candidate for congress in your district?” But a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted April 24-7, has Dems with a 1-point edge (45-44 percent) when asked “If the election for the U.S. House of Representatives were being held today, would you vote for (the Democratic candidate) or (the Republican candidate) in your congressional district?” Both polls were conducted a few days before the Bureau of Labor statistics announced that the unemployment rate dropped .4 percent in one month.
The key to making 2014 a good year for Democratic candidates, according to former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, quoted in the NYT’s “Democrats Struggle to Turn Economic Gains Into Political Ones” by Robert D. Shear: “One number, good or bad, won’t change everything… A sustained pattern of good numbers, from unemployment to wages to consumer confidence, could make a real difference come November. But for that to happen, it has to feel real to them.”
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, quoted in the Fix by Chris Cillizza, sees it this way: “It won’t be an improving economy, it will be the perception of an improving economy…That would change the president’s job performance, help incumbents, and most important, make it easier for Democrats to increase turnout of young people and unmarried women who feel hardest hit and often forgotten.”
But, regardless of the President’s performance, Salon’s Simon Maloy explains why Republicans are courting trouble when they talk about the economy.
At The Upshot Nate Cohn warns: “Even Democratic operatives know the limits of the ground game. In a New Republic cover article that otherwise suggested that a strong turnout operation could solve Democratic problems, Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, conceded that field operations would “only solve our problem if the election is a close one…To hold the Senate, Democrats will need to overcome their turnout problem the old-fashioned way: win older, white voters at far greater rates than Mr. Obama did.”
Paul Steinhauser discuses “6 factors that will influence the midterms” at CNN Politics.
Political analyst Fernando Espuelas explains how “Latinos Hold the Key to Democrats’ Victory (or Defeat) in 2014” at HuffPo: “While there is little risk to the Democrats that Latinos will wake up November 4 and vote en masse for the party of “self-deportation,” the very real risk is that they will stay home. Disgusted, disenchanted and predisposed not to vote any way, Latino voters may hand Democrats a bleak November indeed…It was in 2010 when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was singled out as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the nation — he would undoubtedly be torched in the Tea Party forest fire…Of course, Reid went on to buck the cycle’s trend and defeat his Republican opponent. Post-election analysis showed that Reid was not just able to win a huge majority of Latinos — his campaign actually increased Hispanic turnout by focusing on Republican candidate Sharron Angle’s anti-immigrant virulence…The 2010 Reid formula shows a clear path for Democrats…Should the Democratic Party decide to actively campaign for Latino votes, as Reid did in 2010, a November “Latino Surprise” will save the Democrats.”
At The Plum Line Greg Sargent reveals “Why Dems are running against plutocracy.” Says Sargent: “The strategy is premised on the idea that swing voters view the economy as rigged against them, and in favor of the very wealthy, whose interests will be zealously protected by a GOP-controlled Senate…A new polling memo from Stan Greenberg’s Democracy Corps sheds some more light on this approach. Conducted with the Public Campaign Action Fund, it finds that in the 86 most competitive House districts, there is strong opposition across party lines to the McCutcheon decision — and strong support for efforts to reduce the influence over money in politics…The poll found that even in contested Republican districts, 70 percent oppose the McCutcheon ruling when it’s described to them, 56 percent strongly, and in Dem battleground districts, 74 percent oppose it, 62 percent strongly. An overwhelming 71 percent of independents in the 86 battleground districts oppose the decision.”
Aaron Blake notes at The Fix that “…The unemployment picture in the states holding key Senate races is actually quite a bit better for Democrats than the national picture…According to the most recent state figures available, from March, the unemployment rate in 11 of the top 13 states Democrats are defending was below the national average, and the rate was actually at or below 5 percent in six of those 11 states.” However, adds Blake, “Meanwhile, in the two states Republicans are defending — Georgia and Kentucky — the unemployment rate was above the national average.”

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