September 23, 2007


In Swing Districts, Democratic Enthusiasm Is Harder to Come By (Chris Cillizza And Shailagh Murray, September 23, 2007, Washington Post)

Conventional wisdom dictates that Democratic voters are thrilled with their choices for president, bursting at the seams to rally behind Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) or whoever gets the party's nod next year.

A recent survey by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, however, showed Clinton and Obama trailing former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) in the 31 Democratic-held House districts regarded as most imperiled in 2008, and even potentially serving as a drag on those lawmakers' reelection chances.

The poll was conducted in August but has not been previously reported. It paints a "sobering picture" for Democrats, according to a memo by Lake and Daniel Gotoff that accompanies the poll report.

Giuliani takes 49 percent to Clinton's 39 percent, while the former mayor's lead over Obama is far smaller, 41 percent to 40 percent. "Despite Obama's relative advantage over Clinton, both candidates are significantly underperforming against the generic Democratic edge in the presidential and even against party identification," Lake and Gotoff wrote.

The news gets worse for Obama and Clinton as one delves deeper into the survey.

While the average lead of Democratic House members stands at 19 percentage points in the 31 vulnerable districts -- all but two of which are part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's incumbent-protection program known as Frontline -- that number sinks considerably when the lawmakers are linked to either front-runner.

Obama finds 'beer voters' hard to tap John McCormick, September 23, 2007 , Chicago Tribune)
A former Harvard Law Review president and constitutional law lecturer at the University of Chicago, Obama can sometimes seem professorial. It is one of the reasons he sometimes fails to connect with working-class voters.

Pollsters call Bren and those like her "beer-track" voters, while those with higher incomes and more education are dubbed "wine-track" voters. The first group tends to care more about pocketbook issues. The second places greater value on more global matters.

Wine-track voters can provide money, votes and other important resources for a campaign, but it is the beer-track voters who have proved critical for winning the Democratic nomination.

Intellectual liberals with outsider messages who fail to connect with this demographic group have often failed. Think Bill Bradley in 2000 and Howard Dean in 2004.

So far, Obama has done well attracting the Chardonnay crowd, but he has had less success winning over Joe Sixpack.

...he'd have the Democrats nominate a liberal woman from New York or a black Senator.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 23, 2007 9:23 AM

That's racist and sexist...and sadly all too accurate.

Posted by: Dave W at September 23, 2007 11:03 PM

Of course the generic Democrat polls better than the genuine candidates - we know too much about the people actually running.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at September 24, 2007 6:47 AM