Democrats Regain Electoral Footing

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Sep 25, 2009 at 16:00

Earlier in the week, in my first House forecast for 2010, I looked at generic congressional ballot polling from August 20th through September 17th.  At that time, the most recent survey from the nine polling organizations to publish generic congressional ballots conducted entirely since August 20th showed Democrats ahead by 3.5%.

However, several generic congressional ballots have been released since that time, which cumulatively show the Democratic position improving. Here are the most recent surveys from the eight polling organizations that have published generic congressional ballots which were conducted entirely since President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress. Most of the surveys can be found at

House Generic Ballot Polling, 9/10-9/24
Dem % Rep % Pollster Date Type Partisan
40.8% 35.4%
43% 30% F&M 9/21 Live Phone None
46% 35% Polimetrix 9/22 Internett None
40% 32% Selzer 9/14 Live Phone None
47% 41% GQR 9/16 Live Phone Dem
33% 27% R2000 9/24 Live Phone Dem
43% 40% NBC 9/20 Live Phone None
36% 36% OnMessage 9/10 Live Phone Rep
38% 42% Rasmussen 9/20 Automated Rep
Not only has the Democratic advantage expanded to 5.4%, up 1.9% from a few days ago, but the only two polls showing Democrats in any real trouble are both Republican outfits. The four non-partisan polls in this group show Democrats ahead by 8.8%, identical to their margin in 2008.

The tea-party is over. Since President Obama's speech on September 9th, Democrats have clearly regained their electoral footing. For all the conservative organizing around tea parties since March, Republicans have made up no ground at all in the generic congressional ballot. While Obama's approval rating has dipped, his net job approval of +7.5% is identical to his victory margin in the 2008 election. The only people Republicans have won over are people who already voted for them in 2008.

The problem Republicans face is that their members of Congress and leading spokespeople are engaging in pretty much the same behavior as their more bombastic astroturf / grassroots supporters. The image of "average citizens" yelling at powerful members of Congress plays well. The image of members of Congress engaging in the same behavior--not so much. In a sense, the lack of what Matt Stoller called a "rootsgap" in his farewell article at Open Left is keeping Republicans in a poor electoral position, while it keeps Democrats from passing good legislation. However, the Progressive Block is helping to solve that gap, and today I feel more optimistic about the short-term political future than I have in months.

Chris Bowers :: Democrats Regain Electoral Footing

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iT is this report, and similar reports that show continued support for Democratic party action that drives me so crazy. (0.00 / 0)
Obama is clearly a huge boost to all Democrats, and any opposition to Democratic policy, active "I wont go along" type opposition drives individual Dems, blue dogs etc, poll numbers down, their positives down and negatives up. So it obvious that the emerging progressive majority is here, and ready to grow. Populist policies will grow the party.

So we need populist, progressive policies to grow the potential for progressive populist policies. (Can I get oh darn that is good news, or something that rhymes?)

So the quest seems to be to be, how do we get the lame, the addle headed, the oppositional, the weak willed, the weak minded and the "truly conservative who just wear blue 'cause it helps with the bribery," to actually discuss, develop and enact populist progressive policy so we can enact progressive populist policy?

There are some, and I feel their anger, I assure you I do, who say the only to get it done, is to attack Obama in any way possible, and it has seemed to lower his numbers, before his speech. There are others who say just leave him alone, attack him and you increase the chances of a Republican victory, and the loss of this opportunity for change, because change will happen if we leave him alone.

I think, hell obviously, neither are true. We obviously need to force him, and we cannot risk Republican resurgence, ever. So what I want to know is how to emulate the pledge block, by pushing a real crow bar into the ground, ensuring that the drift right won't happen, and in fact ensure we will be governing progressively.

How do we have the power to move the admin. and congress, as we grow our power. How do we "make him" without lowering Democratic Party numbers, keep the republicans from getting advantage, while forcing the changes we need.

Because: Populist, progressive policies grow the potential for progressive populist policies.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

Step 1: Pass A Strong Public Option (4.00 / 2)
If we actually win and pass a strong public option, the play book changes.  That puts us on a strong footing for the next battle.  

[ Parent ]
I agree, that will help. (0.00 / 0)
I do think we need to find ways to push, hell shove, and keep pressure on, while maintaining a "robust" pro-Dem congressional vote. And yes, to all and sundry, I know the Dems are working against us in this, by being (etc etc. see my list above) and I also know a whole hell of a lot of them dont deserve any help, let alone our help.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
For them to have regained it is to imply that at one point they lost it... (4.00 / 1)
...they never did.

No Chris keeps constant attention to the polling numbers. And the fluctuations. (0.00 / 0)
And he has produced more than one report to show these particular numbers falling over a good period of time. I guess you missed those posts. If you go back through Chris' posts (click on his name above) you will be bale see all the other reports as the numbers fall.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
What is this supposed to mean for America or what passes for the left? (0.00 / 0)
It's not as though when Democrats do well, the rest of the country does well (and it sure as hell doesn't do well when the Nazis - oops, I mean, the Republicans - are).  So what is this supposed to mean, other than a right-wing, corporate-owned political party is likely to retain power because it hasn't so thoroughly screwed things up for corporate dominance as to warrant the bosses' to support the GOP again?

oh great (4.00 / 2)
is this dumb morph your new signature for every comment?

[ Parent ]
Nope. I simply got bored with the previous image. (0.00 / 0)
This one's staying put for a while.

[ Parent ]
Hold on. (0.00 / 0)
I misunderstood what you were asking.  You're only half right.  The image is going to remain in my signature, yes, but it's not at all dumb given the FACT that Obama has emulated the shrub in so many ways that it's not even funny.

[ Parent ]
Once is funny. (4.00 / 6)
As a signature it is major waste of bandwidth and an abusive use of comments, in my humble opinion.

[ Parent ]
It's staying put. (0.00 / 0)
It's for the site owners to decide if the image abuses the rules of the site.  If they ask me to take it down, I will.  No one else has authority to do that, and frankly, the image represents the truth.  Maybe if more people acknowledged that, it would be necessary.

[ Parent ]
I'm more concerned about Mike setting a bad example. (4.00 / 2)
Remember Kant's categorical imperative! It's obvious that our discussion threads would become unreadable if everybody would use such a pic as a signature.

[ Parent ]
If you use firefox you can remove all these images of the poster (4.00 / 2)
Right click on the image, as I did long ago, and simply click on block images form this server.

This will let the page display properly for all rreaders, what it does for new visitors, or people who have not read this advice is is not much, they get to be annoyed.

I would suggest that openleft remove the right to put pictures in ones signature.

Rules and rights that assume fair participation are often ignored by people who have "very good reasons" to ignore them.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Good idea, thx HoP! (4.00 / 1)
I should have thought about this by myself...
It's ok now, the threads are much better readable again. No offense, Mike, I like the picture, but it became a bit too much...

[ Parent ]
my firefox (3.5.3) doesn't display a "block images from this server" option (0.00 / 0)
I don't know why, I remember seeing such an option before...
do you have a blocking extension hoppy?

anyway, I clicked Tools / Options / Content / Load images / Exceptions and entered there, that works

[ Parent ]
I have 3.5.3 as well, it has mopved to to nar the bottom (0.00 / 0)
My menu item says "Block Images from" and it does block image files from that domain.

And no I don't use many extensions.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
Gotta love the tech, though (4.00 / 1)
What a freaky picture.

[ Parent ]
Pass a public option and see support surge for Dems (4.00 / 3)
A wouldnt be surprised to see them grab a 15 point lead after they passed it.  

i agree (4.00 / 1)
not sure of the magnitude but more importantly it will motivate the base to get active in the 2010 races, give money, etc. Those in vulnerable districts who vote "yes" will see a lot more financial support than those who vote "no."

[ Parent ]
And what sort of "public option" will it be? (0.00 / 0)
Will it actually be something substantive, or will it, as Obama and the rest of the right-wing of the Democratic Party want, be only the illusion of reform?  If it's the latter, and at this point no one should seriously believe it won't be, then it'll not only kill what chances we might have had to achieve genuine reform but will likely torpedo Democrats' hold on power.

[ Parent ]
Isn't that what you want anyway? (4.00 / 2)

[ Parent ]
Lessons From 1994 (0.00 / 0)
The 2010 elections are in just a little over 13 months.  It would be interesting to track the generac ballot question over the year before the disasterous 1994 election.  I remember the build up but have long forgotten the details.  I think the Republican leadership was much stronger in 1994 than 2009.  Also, the Democrats in Congress were hurt by one major scandal, what became known as the "House Bank" and liberal overdraft policies and a series of minor but made for Cable TV scandals. As I remember it the failure of the Clinton Health Care plan was a factor and did depress the Dem. base but just one of severalissues -- not really a game changer.

Based on history, I expect that as 2010 comes into focus much of the GOP fire will be directed not at Obama but at Congressional targets with real or manufactured scandals. For example, I've noticed lately how little GOP fire I've been hearing about Rangle -- I think they are just waiting for the best time to turn up the heat. The Census is also going to be a huge, huge political football and much of it will be thrown into the Courts, where most Federal judges are beholden to the GOP.

2010 election cycle (0.00 / 0)
I agree that the Dem's cred on the street will be enhanced by passage of the PO.  However, if we succeed, we will also be making some considerable enemies in corporate-ville.  All health care political money will be directed to overthrowing as many freshman Dems as possible in the House.  

If, as expected, the next order of business becomes financial reform, all the Wall St $ that has traditionally gone to Dems in the past will turn into a Repub shitstorm for Dems.  

Just as it was in the 30's, organizing and fundraising at the grassroots will become ever more important to progressive forces retaining power.  Millions more people need to be educated in how their interests are in direct conflict with corporate interests.

Interesting times.


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