September 23, 2004


Democratic prospects for Hill takeover dim: Unless Kerry surges, Democrats may see hope of controlling House or Senate slip away. (Gail Russell Chaddock, 9/24/04, The Christian Science Monitor)

In a sharp change from just two months ago, Republicans are gaining a commanding position in the race for control of the US House and Senate. [...]

The latest Ipsos-Public Affairs poll shows that voters now favor Republicans to control the Congress 47 percent to 45 percent. In May, voters favored Democrats 50 percent to 41 percent. [...]

Without a hot presidential race in town, many Democrats in Bush territory are running independent of the national ticket - or at least, attempting to create some distance. In one of the most striking examples in this campaign cycle, Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle is running an ad where President Bush appears to be hugging him. It begins with Mr. Daschle saying: "Tonight, the president has called us again to greatness. And tonight, we answer that call." In a debate Sunday on "Meet the Press," GOP challenger John Thune called the ad a bid "to throw John Kerry overboard in order to help himself."

In addition, Democrats like Erskine Bowles in North Carolina and Rep. Brad Carson in Oklahoma are siding with the GOP on some economic issues. [...]

But even in states that are not targets for the presidential race, presidential politics can move voter turnout, up or down. And lately, at least, the prospects for Democrats have been looking worse.

"Coattails still matter. It doesn't affect the landslides, but it does affect the couple of dozen House seats that are very close, as well as the half-dozen Senate contests that are pure tossups. Most will go the way of the presidential winner," says Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. [...]

Meanwhile, The National Republican Senatorial Committee reported Thursday that it ended August with a cash-on-hand advantage of 2 to 1 over the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee - $22 million to $10.5 million.

Republicans seldom lead the generic ballot like that--in fact they trailed at this point two years ago when they were about to rack up an ahistorical mid-term victory.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 23, 2004 10:41 PM

Where is this surge going to come from? The 16th arrondissement?

Posted by: Melissa at September 23, 2004 11:14 PM

I'm telling you: TV and radio ads featuring the clips of Democrats talking about the draft, images of the bill listing all cosponsors, then Bush saying no draft, he supports our professional, all-volunteer military. Voiceover: "Say no to the draft. Say no to Democrats in Congress. Vote Republican on November 2nd." Run it on MTV, The Daily Show, college radio, and whatever else is hot among under 30s.

Oh, and I still want high-profile arrests of spammers in October. Those two things would get him an extra 5% of the vote and some House and Senate seats.

Posted by: PapayaSF at September 24, 2004 1:10 AM



Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 24, 2004 3:34 AM

"Oh, and I still want high-profile arrests of spammers in October."

Substitute arrests with executions and you might be on to something.

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at September 24, 2004 6:58 AM

As far as spam is concerned, I'm having a lot of luck with Cloudmark's Spamnet.

As for the politics, it was dumb for the Democrats to pretend, earlier in the year, that they had any chance of taking back the House and a good chance of taking back the Senate. The House is Republican for at least the rest of the decade and retaking the Senate, while possible, is incredibly unlikely, given the five seats the Dems have to defend in the South. I know that campaigns feel they have to pump up their chances early, to get money and excite their base, but the facts this year just guaranteed that the floor would be dropping out from under them about now.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 24, 2004 7:40 AM

I'm having a lot of luck with XP's Outlook spam filter. I got a new computer a month ago & it's pretty good.

Posted by: pj at September 24, 2004 8:21 AM

OJ, do you have a link to 2002's generic ballot polls?

Posted by: Timothy at September 24, 2004 12:56 PM

Here's a better:

Keep in mind, in the event the GOP won by 6 points, which is why poll results from folks like Zogby may be so screwy.

Posted by: oj at September 24, 2004 1:10 PM