It’s just four weeks (and two days) until the midterm elections. But that’s a lifetime (or two) in politics, and it’s way too early for Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Minority Leader John Boehner to be staking claim to the fanciest digs in the US House of Representatives.
According to a race-by-race analysis by The New York Times, “Enough contests remain in flux that both parties head into the final four weeks of the campaign with the ability to change the dynamic before Election Day.”
“We have a lot of work to do,” Boehner told the newspaper.
Fund raising and targeted advertising – both for your guy and against the other guy – are important. Maybe more so – for Democrats especially – is rousing the party faithful from the typical midterm lethargy, then getting them to the polls on Election Day Nov. 2. That was the main point of the “One Nation Working Together” rally at the Lincoln Memorial Saturday organized by liberal groups.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the GOP edge in a generic poll asking which party should control Congress dropping from nine percentage points last month to just three points today. Gallup shows the generic poll essentially even, as does the POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll.
Meanwhile, there’s this:
“CNN has learned that Tom Donohue, the powerful president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who has vowed to spend more than $75 million on key House and Senate races, has privately told colleagues in recent weeks he believes Democrats will just barely hold on to the House majority,” writes CNN’s Ed Henry.
Why the shift (or at least the perception of shift)?
“The NBC/WSJ pollsters attribute the tightening to increased enthusiasm for the upcoming midterms by African Americans (who saw a six-point gain in high interest) and Hispanics (who saw an 11-point gain),” reports MSNBC deputy political director Mark Murray.
Still, it is the youngsters that need to be aroused if Democrats are to hold onto power, writes Murray: “Young voters, who helped fuel Obama’s presidential victory in 2008, are now sitting on the sidelines. Just 35 percent of those ages 18-34 are enthusiastic about the election in November, versus 65 percent of seniors who say that.”
While the election is a month off on the calendar, in fact it’s already begun. People can already vote early in seven states. Two week from now, voters will be able to fill out their ballots in nearly half the country – 24 states.
Despite catching up in the “who should run Congress?” polls, there’s another reason for Democrats to be worried
“I hate to be a (Democratic) party pooper, but here’s the next piece of bad news,” writes Linda Hirshman at the Daily Beast. “Guess who’s not coming out to vote? White women. The enthusiasm among all women is down, but Gallup shows that white women are the least enthusiastic of all the major demographic groups.”
Time for Mr. Obama to turn on his legendary charm?
“Democrats still have a last-ditch chance to attract the crucial margin of white female voters,” writes Hirshman. “Since women poll as more concerned with children’s issues than men do, the recent activation of health care for children would be a good start.”