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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Green Shoots Amid Downer Forecasts for Dems

Chris Cillizza shares “Two reasons why all is not lost for Democrats in the midterms” at CNN Politics. Cillizza writes that “as of late, there are a few small signs that the coming election might not be a total disaster for Democrats.” Further,

“The first piece of good news comes via the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, which released its updated Partisan Voting Index earlier this week.
In an analysis of the PVI results, the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman concludes that there has been a somewhat steep decline in the number of competitive seats across the country following the decennial redistricting process that has taken place over the past 18 months or so….Why is the decline in highly competitive seats a good thing for Democrats? Simple. While Republicans only need a net gain of four seats to take control of the House, if they want to achieve a large, governing majority in 2023, they will need to beat a lot of Democratic incumbents who sit in seats that Biden won by a considerable amount….it’s harder to beat a Democratic incumbent in a seat Biden won by 10 points in 2020 than one in a district Biden carried by 1 point. And to pick up 30+ seats, Republicans are going to have to beat a whole lot of Democratic incumbents in districts that clearly lean to their party — at least at the presidential level.
….The second piece of relative good news for Democrats comes in the generic ballot test. This is a poll question that seeks to gauge support for a generic House Democratic candidate against a generic House Republican candidate and is broadly predictive of which way the national winds are blowing. (The question usually goes something like: “If the election were held today, would you vote for the Democratic candidate or Republican candidate for House?”)….A New York Times/Siena College poll out this week showed that among registered voters nationally, 41% said they would back the Democratic candidate, while 40% chose the Republican one. (Among voters likely to cast a ballot this fall, 44% opted for the Republican candidate while 43% chose the Democrat.)….It’s also worth noting that the generic ballot question has historically favored Democrats by a few points, so a virtual tie between the parties is rightly read as an edge for the Republicans.”

Add to all that the slight improvements in gas prices and employment, the growing reaction to the gutting of Roe v. Wade, the fallout from the January 6th hearings, growing anger about Republicans stonewalling gun safety legislation, along with some exceptionally-lame GOP senate and gubernatorial candidates, and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that it could indeed be worse.

Cillizza cautions, however, “None of this data changes the underlying reality of this election: Biden is deeply unpopular and, in past midterm elections, when the president is unpopular, his party in the House tends to sustain heavy damage….But for Democrats, who have spent the last seven months being barraged by a seemingly endless stream of bad news, these twin developments suggest that the worst-case scenario may, in fact, not come to pass.”


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