Reading this week's Election 2010 tea (party) leaves: more uncertainty
Democrats will be fortunate not to lose at least one house of Congress in Election 2010. But beyond that, major uncertainties remain, and in fact may be increasing.
As analysts, pollsters, and pundits sort through the tea (party) leaves of this week’s primary elections, they’re finding that the general trend continues: Democrats will be fortunate not to lose at least one house of Congress.Skip to next paragraph
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But beyond that, major uncertainties remain, and in fact may be increasing.
Take political prognosticator Charlie Cook, one of the best in the business. As voters were going to the polls in Tuesday's primaries, he wrote: “Unless a large number of Republican officeholders and candidates begin taking stupid pills every morning, the odds of Republicans picking up more than the 39 seats needed to win a majority in the House is very high, and in the Senate, a net gain of between eight and 10 seats looks probable.” (Ten more seats would give the GOP a 51-to-49 majority in the Senate.)
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But the morning after, his view changed – at least regarding the Senate. That’s because of "tea party" favorite Christine O’Donnell’s win over Republican moderate Michael Castle in Delaware's GOP primary.
Democrats can 'bury O'Donnell'
The Cook Political Report now says Democrats have “enough fodder to bury O’Donnell” because of the dirt dug up on her by her own party, which preferred Mr. Castle. “With Delaware off the board for the GOP, the possibility that they can net the 10 seats needed to win the majority becomes significantly harder,” according to Cook.
Most voters agree that Republicans will do well in November, according to the analysis of Public Policy Polling this week. But it’s not all sweetness and light for the GOP.
“Although the election is looking more and more like a Republican romp, largely because of depressed Democratic turnout and an excited Republican base, those same Americans who recognize the likelihood of Republican gains would, at the same time, prefer to vote for the Democrats,” reports the PPP. “Democrats have retaken a 45-44 lead in the national generic congressional ballot, after being down 42-45 in August.”
And one more thing, according to PPP: “While they are still massively unpopular, Democrats in Congress also still are better liked than their Republican counterparts … congressional Democrats have a 34-54 job approval rating to Republicans’ 22-61.”
Both D's and R's in the doghouse
The latest New York Times/CBS News poll comes to the same pox-on-both-their-houses conclusion. The disapproval rate for congressional Republicans (68 percent) is 10 points higher than it is for Democrats (58 percent). Asked who they blame for the nation’s economic state of affairs, 58 percent blame the Bush administration and Wall Street, compared with just 16 percent who blame President Obama and Congress. Only 18 percent of those surveyed agreed that “Republicans in Congress have a clear plan for solving the nation’s problems.”