Dems still looking good for November elections

Yesterday’s Meet the Press, as well as the intriguing revelation that Illinois Senator Barak Obama is now thinking of running for president in ’08, had a very good exchange on the upcoming elections.

It seems that, barring a huge turn-around, the Democrats are going to take the House of Representatives. It would appear most likely that they will end up one or two Senate seats short. However, parallels with Gingrich’s ’96 revolution, when they swept both houses beyond all expectation, abound.

The contributors on Meet the Press were David Broder of The Washington Post, Charlie Cook of the National Journal, John Harwood of The Wall Street Journal, Robert Novak of the Chicago Sun-Times. Here are some excerpts:

RUSSERT: All right, gentlemen, here we go. Let’s look at some poll data from the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

First, the president’s job approval. He’s at 38 percent approve, 57 disapprove. On the economy, a little bit better: 44 percent approve the economy, and 52 percent disapprove. The war in Iraq, not so good: approve, just 33, disapprove, 63.

How about Congress? Approval, 16 percent of Americans approve the job Congress is doing, 75 disapproval. Look at October ‘94, the month before the Republican revolution, led by Newt Gingrich: Congress had a 24 percent approval.

And this question, who should control Congress? Thirty-seven percent say Republicans, 52 percent say Democrats, a 15-point gap. Again, October ‘94, before the Republican revolution, when the Republicans won 52 seats, the Republicans were up 6 points.

On the how many Representatives the Democrats are likely to win:

COOK: But I think we start at 20. I mean, I mean, look, 16 days, obviously, everything could change. I think it’s at least 20 in the House. I think it’s more 25, 30, 35. It, it could go, this could get bad, particularly if Republican turnout really drops.

MR. RUSSERT: They need 15 to take control.

MR. COOK: They need 15, and I think 20 is the starting point, unless something big happens. And voter turnout, I mean, Republican voters right now are depressed. And Democrats are spitting nails. And, wow, that’s—if Repub—I mean, when you see these wave election, midterm elections, it’s when one side’s voters are energized and the other side’s are disillusioned.

MR. HARWOOD: And Tim, we saw on our Journal/NBC poll, when you ask “How interested are you in the election? How enthusiastic are you about voting?” We show a significant advantage for Democrats.

But let me tell you, I talked to a couple of top Bush advisers yesterday who said, “Your way of measuring is wrong, that if you look at our metrics for the number of volunteers we have, the number of contacts we’re making, we are doing much better than you think.” So that’s going to be a, a test on Election Day. And let’s don’t forget: A lot of the people now predicting big Republican losses here, were predicting that George Bush was going to lose, and the Bush team was right about that.

MR. RUSSERT: What’s your gut tell you?

MR. HARWOOD: My gut tells me 20 is about right, and that in the Senate, maybe five seats for the Democrats, and you end up with 50/50.


MR. BRODER: I think our friends are absolutely on, on, on target. If, if they’re wrong, I think it would be underestimating this wave, not overestimating it.

And on the Senate:

I’m going to run through some of the Senate races and, we’ll—then we’ll come back and talk. Here’s Montana: Republican candidate Conrad Burns vs. Democrat Jon Tester. Tester has been ahead.

Let’s look at Pennsylvania. Rick Santorum is the incumbent, Democratic challenger Bob Casey. Casey has been ahead.

Let’s look at Ohio. Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent; Sherrod Brown, the Democratic challenger. Brown has been ahead.

And we look at Rhode Island. Lincoln Chafee, the Republican who won his primary handily, is behind Sheldon Whitehouse, the Democrat.

Missouri: Jim Talent, the Republican; Claire McCaskill, the Democrat. Very tight race.

Tennessee: Bob Corker, the Republican; Harold Ford, the Democrat. Very tight race.

Virginia: George Allen, the Republican; Jim Webb, the Democrat. Very tight race.

Then two states held by the Democrats. All those other ones were held by Republicans. New Jersey: Bob Menendez, the Democrat; Tom Kean, a tight race.

Maryland: Ben Cardin, the Democrat; Michael Steele, the Republican lieutenant governor. Cardin’s been ahead, but closer than many people expected.

Bob Novak, in those seven key races, the Democrats are either tied or ahead. Is that a pretty good indication, do you think, of where we are 16 days out?

MR. NOVAK: I think so. I think the first four you mentioned look to be locks for—not locks but highly probable—for the Democrats. That’s four seats, not enough to take control.

MR. RUSSERT: They need six.

MR. NOVAK: They need six. The, the races that really are, are quite competitive and decisive will be Tennessee, Virginia…

MR. RUSSERT: And Missouri.

MR. COOK: Well, I think Pennsylvania, Santorum; Mike DeWine, Ohio; boy, they’re just way, way, way, way, way down. Boy, it’s really hard to see them, them make it up. Burns, I think Burns is going to lose, but the margin isn’t nearly as wide as the first two. Chafee, that’s—it’s closer, but Chafee is behind. You know, I think it’s more likely than not Democrats pick up that one. That gets you to four.

And next is—OK, what happens next. Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri, gosh, it’s, it’s really close. Maybe McCaskill ahead a tiny bit more than behind, but it’s close. Then as John said, those rural areas help—how bad—how far are they going to go for Republicans. Tennessee, absolutely right. I mean, Ford’s been ahead, but it’s been closing. Corker pulling up. Virginia, George Allen is up a little bit, but I think if a feather landed on his head, it’d probably knock him out. And New Jersey, two weeks ago, I thought Kean, the Republican, was going to win. Now, Menendez has pulled back up and Republicans don’t have the money, ironically, to, to spend to really compete in New Jersey.


14 Responses to Dems still looking good for November elections

  1. Will Parbury says:

    I fear this is tempting fate. Fingers, toes and everything else that can be crossed are crossed that on election night that the Republicans get their arses kicked

  2. Indeed, we have a policy of touching wood every time we mention the Democrats being in the lead here in the Daily’s offices.
    There’s another danger, which is that the Democrats could do well, but not so well. For example if they only took back the House and just picked up three Senate seats, it could then actually end up being cast as a setback for the Democrats in the press.

  3. Will Parbury says:

    This is not an administration that is above capturing Bin Laden just before the mid term elections. Just by chance you understand. Personally I think the senario that you set out would be a disapointing one for the Dems but then i’m thinking in a British context where more of the constituencies are marginal as the boundries aren’t politically fixed and we think that the mentally challenged should be found less demanding roles than running the country. God bless America. The country may be broke, the environment wreaked and iraq is the worst entanglement since Vietnam but at least republican americans are safe from gay marriage.

    Also does anyone know what coverage of the mid terms there is going to be. I stayed up for both 2000 and 2004 and i’m enough of an addict to add 2006 to the list.

  4. Nick says:

    I’m not sure, though the coverage of the Presidentials on UK TV was absolutely dire. An internet connection and one person with moderately geeky knowledge of US politics literally gave us the news faster and better than either the BBC or ITN.

    Not sure if either will cover the mid-terms anyway, which means that we need to find someone with a house and CNN or some other US/international news channels who doesn’t mind hosting a mid-term elections party.

    Any takers?!

  5. I imagine it’ll be on News 24, which will run on BBC2 through the night.

    Are there any socialists in these elections?

    I find it hard to support the Democrats when they’re so consistent at being both right-wing sell outs and losers. The Kerry campaign was shockinginly inept.

  6. That’s a shocking spelling of a shockingly there.

  7. sosialydd says:

    There are reports that the sociall conservative blue collar workers at the core of Democratic House majorities in the Tip O’Neill era are swinging towards the Democrats.

    Indiana and Kentucky are crucial this year.

  8. sosialydd says:

    Are there any socialists in these elections?

    That depends what you mean by “socialist”. Bernie Sanders is running as an Independent Socialist in Vermont (and will win) but that’s about it as far as serious candidates not afraid to use that word to describe themselves go.

    But a large wing of the Democratic party (what could be regarded as the pre-’68 Left; although they aren’t all old) would be thought of as Socialist just about anywhere outside the U.S, and the Democratic parties in two states (Minnesota and North Dakota) have Socialist roots (the Farmer-Labor Party and NPA respectively).

  9. The obvious answer probably lies in the Congressional Progressive Caucus – a group of 65 House Representatives who would probably span the centre and left of the UK Labour Party.

    Sanders will be the most left-wing Senator in living memory if (and it looks certain barring an electoral earthquake of monumental proportions) he is elected.

  10. Max says:

    The health warning must be that gerrymandering means that the Dems may need to win by as much as 7% to take the House (2nd story). They currently have a lead of about 15% in voting intention polls, but this will surely close.

    It’s extraordinary that in a 2-party system that voting intentions can produce such skewed results, but that’s how it is.

    Dem oppotunities in upstate NY, the Philly suburbs, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana and others scattered entertainingly around.

    Still many excellent stories of GOP incompetence and viciousness abound (, and I’m fully up for a midterm all-nighter, though I resent being described as only “moderately” geeky…

    Must learn to hyperlink, too…

  11. I can confirm that you are far more than moderately geeky max.

  12. Nick says:

    I apologise, Max. I don’t know what I was thinking…

  13. sosialydd says:

    Sanders will be the most left-wing Senator in living memory

    No, that award will remain with Glen Taylor, an Idaho (!) Democratic Senator in the ’40’s, sometime travelling showman/country&western singer/wig-manufacturer and running mate of Henry Wallace in 1948, for a few more decades methinks.

    Sanders will be the most leftwing since Ralph Yarborough I think.

  14. I’m sure you’re right but I meant the living memory of bobblehat and me!

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