Chris, I know you've said you don't think the old rule applies any longer, that undecideds break heavily against incumbents. Still, if you're Talent or Allen and you're seeing yourself both neck-in-neck with your challenger and well below 50%, you must see cause for concern -- because it means there are still a lot of undecideds and you actually have to WIN them. The same might apply to Menendez; however, undecideds and independents overlap an awful lot, and most polls have independents breaking fairly blue this cycle. (I wonder if it will prove fair to say that the incumbent rule still applies in cases where the incumbent's party is facing losses overall.)
Commentators now talk a lot about the "traditional" Republican turn-out advantage. I'm not denying they've had that advantage the last couple of cycles, but how traditional is it? Didn't Gore beat Bush on the ground in 2000? Isn't the recent GOP ground advantage actually a reversal of this traditional picture?
You might say, optimistically, that Democrats are following the advice of Democracy Corps and others, and are planning to present a single, coherent message based on national issues. The GOP, since they have to run from national issues, need to fine-tune their message in order to localise the election. Thus it may be that this is INHERENTLY a more expensive election for Republicans, not just because they have to defend more seats, but because they have to defend them in a different way.
I don't get it -- doesn't the fact that the party ID numbers tilt Dem in districts that should have more Republicans suggest that might be tilting the polls in our favour? Maybe voter ID is shifting, but that tends to shift more slowly than polls.
The closest analogy to Harper in the US might actually be -- Alito. Harper has been saying: I know I said some crazy right-wing things in the past, but I've "evolved" (Harper's word) and so I MAY not still believe ALL of them, although I'm not going to tell you which ones, or what I actually now believe -- so hey, elect me.
I am still hoping Harper is kept to a minority but it is looking more like a big majority every day.
Conservative leader Harper is advised by a "kitchen cabinet" of American (self-identified) neo-conservatives, academics from the U of Calgary. The Liberals haven't made much of the neo-con connexion as of yet, but some of the progressive media has, and I suspect Harper would be vulnerable to attacks accusing him of being a closet George Bush. One of the services the Bush admin has done for the left around the world is to help discredit the right in other countries. Anyone who can be plausibly compared to Bush is not going to be popular.
Admittedly, he doesn't allow undecideds, and groups people ranking Bush as "fair" and "poor" together as "negative", which is not quite the same as disapproval. But this is the poll that less than two weeks ago put Bush's approval at 45%, several points higher than every other poll out at that time. Zogby's no Republican, and he did call the last election for Kerry, but his polls have often shown Bush's numbers a bit high.
I wish the pundits would stop talking about how he retains the support of such high numbers of Republicans. He has tied himself so closely to the right-wing project of the Republican party that people who don't support him stop identifying as Republicans -- either you support him or you leave. His continued high numbers among Republicans mean nothing, except that he is steadily destroying the Republican party. He'll be at 8% and people will still be saying: But he IS popular with Republicans.
I think this is a GREAT use of GOP resources, because:
Swiftboating techniques backfired on Kilgore and will here too. I really think Americans especially in blue states have lost their tolerance for the crass equation of Republicanism and patriotism.
The polls showing this race a dead heat never looked credible to me, and now they are again showing Corzine with the wide lead he probably always had.
The PA Senate race still scares me. I still worry the GOP base will rally to Santorum just as the Democratic base realise they're not crazy about Casey. Best to get the hole dug as deep as possible before that happens.
If the choice of who to support with money has come down to Santorum or Forrester, the GOP can throw in the towel now.
How a pro-gun, anti-abortion Nevadan leads the Senate's Democrats.
by ELSA WALSH
Issue of 2005-08-08 and 15
About twenty minutes before President Bush announced that John G. Roberts, Jr., was his choice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, he telephoned Harry Reid, of Nevada, the Senate Minority Leader. As Reid recalls the brief conversation, Bush said, "This guy is really smart, and you'll like him." Reid replied, "I hope so," and added that, during the search, he had enjoyed working with the White House legal counsel, Harriet Miers. (A few days earlier, Reid had met with Miers and had suggested ways to avoid a divisive confirmation process.) Mentioning her name, Reid said, was a signal--his way of telling Bush, "Thanks for not giving us any of these crazies."
Delay's approval rating is below 50, and has been as low as 42/51, in his own district, and the investigations against him are just picking up steam. There are big demographic shifts in that district as well.
I'd also be curious to know whether you think CAFTA will put more seats into play.