Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NPR poll lets the air out of the well-worn tires of the DCCC's "Red to Blue" express

Yesterday, The Hill reported on the "offensive" opportunities Democrats have identified as targeted seats to change from "Red to Blue." Even the left-leaning Swing State Project found this bravado a bit much noting, "Or maybe they should be calling it "Keeping Blue Blue." In truth, the DCCC list targets four Republican held seats while the remaining 7 are open seats. Among the seats the DCCC plans to target are HI-01 Charles Djou, MN-06 Michelle Bachmann, MO-08 Jo Ann Emerson, and PA-06 Jim Gerlach.

The latest Public Opinion Strategies poll lets the air out of the patched tires on the "Red to Blue" express.    The poll targeted 70 battleground districts including 10 currently held by Republicans.  While the DCCC blusters on about their "offensive" strategy, the poll results indicate they have a tough road ahead on offense and defense:
The results are a wake-up call for Democrats whose loses in the House could well exceed 30 seats. In the named-congressional ballot in the 60 Democratic districts, Democrats trail their Republican opponent, 42 to 47 percent, with only a third saying they want to vote to-relect their member. In the top tier of 30 most competitive seats, the Democratic candidate trails by 9 points (39 to 48 percent) and by 2 points in the next tier of 30 seats (45 to 47 percent). On the other hand, the Republican candidates are running well ahead in their most competitive seats ( 53 to 37 percent). 
So much for that anti-incumbent mood the media loves to promote.  The districts of Djou, Bachmann and Gerlach were included in this group that was running well ahead.  Though the poll doesn't give a specific breakdown for each of the districts included in the study, both the Bachmann and Gerlach races are listed as likely Republican according to Cook Political Report.  The newly-elected Republican in Obama's home district is listed as toss-up but the newly-anointed "Red to Blue" candidate Colleen Hanabusa was the DCCC's second choice.  Hanabusa had been urged to drop from the race for the Democratic nomination.

The poll paints a picture of an electorate that is fired up against Democrats and the failed economic policies of the Obama administration.(see this power point of survey graphs )  These results likely explain why some included in the DCCC's "Red to Blue" program are resorting to the strategy used to elect the poseur Blue Dog candidates in 2006 and 2008.  State Senator Joyce Elliott, who is running for the AR-02 seat, is a perfect example:
Also behind a paywall (at the Hotline) is this tidbit that state Sen. Joyce Elliott (D) said she "doesn't know" whether she'd support Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Elliott, who has a liberal reputation, probably has some re-positioning to do to remain competitive in this race, but is acting Pelosi-agnostic really plausible? Even Mike Oliverio eventually backed down from this perch - and he's infinitely more conservative than Elliott.
Even if Democrats were able to pull the wool over a few more eyes with a another faux-conservative they face other hurdles pointed out in the poll:.
The effort by individual campaigns will have to push against walls that seem very hard to move at this point. We tested Democratic and Republican arguments on the economy, health care, financial reform and the big picture for the 2010 election. The results consistently favored the Republicans and closely resembled the vote breakdown. Democrats are hurt by a combined lack of enthusiasm and an anti-incumbent tone. 
 Much more on the NPR poll at Memeorandum

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