Of course there is a national element in tomorrow's elections

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Nov 02, 2009 at 19:00


Tomorrow is not shaping up to be a great day for Democrats:

  1. Virginia. Republicans will handily win the Governor's race after two terms of Democratic control.  My final average on the campaign shows Republican McDonnell ahead 54.5%--40.8%, virtually identical to Pollster.com's 54.7%--41.0%

  2. New York City. Michael Bloomberg will handily win a third term as mayor. The polls there show Bloomberg ahead by even more than McConnell, as he leads Mike Thompson. 52.2% to 37.8% (that is my average of the last five).

  3. NY-23. No matter the endorsement that Democrat Bill Owens received from former Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava, it is likely that Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman will prevail. Of the last six polls to be released, Hoffman leads in four, and only trails by 1% in the other two. Further, Hoffman's voters are more locked-in, according to the cross-tabs of the Siena poll.  Really, Hoffman has been surging for some time now, and I would be stunned if he did not win by at least 5% tomorrow.
Now, Democrats and progressives do still have decent chances in both New Jersey and Maine.  As Adam and I discussed this morning, those two campaigns are almost pure toss-ups, with the odds perhaps slightly in our favor in Maine and slightly against us in New Jersey.  Still, even if we win in both states, it will be more akin to holding a firewall to prevent a disaster then it will to the significant electoral gains Democrats made from 2005-2008.

On Wednesday, Democrats will be tempted to brush off these results as lacking in national meaning.  There are undoubtedly local factors at play in all of these elections, and candidate / campaign quality always makes a real difference in the outcome of any election. However, as a group we should not delude ourselves.  Compared to one year ago, Republicans have made measurable gains.

Party ID
November 2008 exit polls: Democrats +7-8%
November 2009 trendline: Democrats +5.2%
(The Democratic lead last year was 7% in the exit poll, but 8% in the Pollster.com trendline)

President Obama
November 2008 vote margin: +7.27%
November 2009 net job approval: +5.2%

National House Ballot
November 2008 vote margin: Democrats +8.88%
November 2009 trend: Democrats +6.00%

Across the board, Republicans have made a net improvement of about 2-3% in their national position from one year ago. Further, on top of this net Republican gain, Democrats are not as enthusiastic and well-organized as they were last year.  The final Survey USA poll from Virginia shows McCain winning the likely voter pool 52%-43%, even though he lost the state 53%-46% one year ago. The final PPP poll (PDF) is less extreme, but also shows McCain voters outnumbering Obama voters in the electorate, 48%-47%.

So, Democrats are facing a twin problem of a national Republican gain of 2-3%, combined with lower enthusiasm among their own base.  While it is not yet a recipe for Republicans to regain control of Congress, it is certainly a recipe for Republicans to make real gains in the 2010 elections.  As a party, Democrats should address these problems rather than pretending they don't exist.

Update: Some people have asked about the special election to replace Ellen Tauscher in CA-10. The district is D+11, and the only poll shows the Democrat up by 10%. That 10% margin is a pretty good over / under to measure any national implications.

Chris Bowers :: Of course there is a national element in tomorrow's elections

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Now is the time for a heroic GOTV 2010 effort (0.00 / 0)
to start. It has to be an all out drive, for in 2012 if Obama loses, he will lose big because he will have palpably failed, and no amount of GOTV could help him.

2010 is where heroics could actually make a difference.


If Obama loses in 2012 .. (4.00 / 5)
it will be because he cooked his own goose .. sucked up too much to Wall Street .. and listened too much to Geithner, Bernanke and Summers.  In sum, it would be his own damn fault.

[ Parent ]
You forgot Rahm Emmanuel n/t (4.00 / 1)


[ Parent ]
But Obama listened to him ... (0.00 / 0)
and should know better .. unless Obama is indeed a Blue Dog .. or at least sympathetic

[ Parent ]
I need a REASON to GOTV (4.00 / 8)

  The Democrats -- the party in power -- needs to give me something to sell.

  Here's a hint: Mandated health insurance without a public option ain't it.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
the Congressional race (4.00 / 5)
is in a district that has been Republican forever.  Its a major upset for Democrats to win that seat in any year.

The Democrats certainly will address it... (4.00 / 7)
...by becoming more conservative and further dampening base turnout, which they will decide is the result of not being conservative enough.... and the cycle will continue endlessly.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


But of course! (4.00 / 4)

 Look at Creigh Deeds. As soon as he stated he'd consider opting out of the public option, his poll numbers SOARED!

 (Oh, you mean they didn't? Shhh. Don't tell the DLC!)  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
Whoops (4.00 / 2)
Accidental troll rating there. Fixed.

[ Parent ]
Ding ding ding! (4.00 / 1)
That's exactly what they will do because they are TOTALLY out of touch with the real world and ONLY listen to the Villagers.

[ Parent ]
Last Saturday... (4.00 / 1)

  I attended a fundraiser for one of our Congressional candidates. I was talking to him for awhile and the subject of Creigh Deeds came up. (I'm in Maryland.) The candidate kept insisting that Deeds was a very fine candidate who had simply run a bad campaign with too much negativity. I mentioned that Deeds had neglected (to say the least) the base, and was having an especially difficult problem motivating African-Americans to get out and vote for him. He conceded that point but reverted to the idea that there was nothing wrong with Deeds per se, he'd just run a crappy campaign. I brought up Warner and Kaine, neither of whom had any problem getting elected in Virginia, even though both were less conservative than Deeds. No good response...

  DLC thinking will be our epitaph.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
I don't think Warner and Kaine were less conservative than Deeds (0.00 / 0)
actually. I would argue when Warner ran for Governor, he was MORE conservative than Deeds.

But as far as the African-American numbers, Deeds is losing a strangly large number of them to McDonnell...and if the African-American voters are unhappy with Deeds' conservative positions, why the hell did they vote overwhelmingly for Terry freakin' McAullife in the primary?


[ Parent ]
A year ago... (4.00 / 2)

  Virginia voted for a socialist presidential candidate.

  Just saw a McDonnell commercial -- he's talking about jobs, the economy, etc. Doesn't come across as wingnutty at all. It's an ad that could be put together by a Democratic candidate.

  If we yield the bread-and-butter issues to the Republicans, we have no right to complain when we lose elections as a result.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
Now you're not speaking on left/right (4.00 / 1)
A conservative can talk about jobs and the economy...it's generic

"Oh, elect me and I'll create jobs and boost the economy"

that's great, doesn't make one a progressive or conservative.

Deeds is losing because he's been MIA, he could've ran as a centrist and won, McDonnell is, and Deeds did in the primary. He needs to actually RUN.



[ Parent ]
That's the way politics always worked (0.00 / 0)
if the problem is the base is unhappy with the way Democrats are acting, then primaries would be the successfull rectification.

But we must also keep in mind that the President and even the Congress is still pretty popular with Democrats. According to R2k, Obama has an 89% approval among Dems, Pelosi, 85%, even Congressional Dems get a 75% approval among Democrats themselves...these approvals are much higher than the approvals of Republicans among Republicans...so if the party still overwhelmingly approves of it's leaders, far more than the Republicans do, why are the Dems not turning out and Republicans are?

Why is the Democratic/liberal base demoralized in Maine where there's a ballot issue that should, conceiveably, excite them?

I agree the Dems are going to take this as a sign that they need to go more centrist, that's unfortunate, but I don't see the logic where the base isn't turning out because they're unhappy with their leaders...I see a base not turning because, quite frankly, they just don't care. Conservatives and Republicans want to stick it to Obama, so they'd vote for Ivan the Impaler's ghost if he was on the ballots...Democrats? well they're sitting pretty with their President and majority, there's a kick ass World Series on and that new show is premiering on ABC tomorrow night.


[ Parent ]
What about the CA congressional race? (4.00 / 2)
There is another race in California that is not getting any attention.....A democrat is suppose to win BUT the media is only covering the races where democrats will lose.

I disagree: Here's why. (0.00 / 0)
1. For Virginia, keep in mind that 8 years ago Mark Warner won a term as Virginia's governor right after the attacks of September 11th. In a deep red state. Also, if you listen to McDonnell in his speeches, he's talking about left economic issues like jobs rather than right economic issues like taxes (correct me if I'm wrong). I get the impression that Deeds is a typical DLC democrat and that isn't ringing well when Washington is slow to respond economically, if they do respond in a positive direction at all.

2. Michael Bloomberg will win because A. he has money, and B. he usually has weaker opponents. Keep in mind that he won in 2005, and that was after Hurricane Katrina in a very blue area of a very blue state (which is the inverse of the example of Virginia).

3. I don't know much about this race, except that this district hasn't been represented by a democrat since before the civil war. So a conservative winning this would not be unprecedented.

But you could be 100% right and the dems would face another 1994 in 2010.


Populist issues are there for the taking (4.00 / 4)

  Obama destroyed the Democrats' credibility as the "party of the people" with his TARP bailouts, among other things. He's gotten plenty of help from the blue dogs in Congress in his efforts.

  So it's no surprise that whacked-out wingnuts like McDonnell are stepping into the breach, voluntarily vacated by the Democrats. Populism sells, even if the DLC insists it doesn't.

 The one silver lining is that Creigh Deeds is the Democratic establishment's dream candidate -- he craps all over the base, he sucks up to the Village. And he's going to get clobbered tomorrow.

 So the DLC crowd is going to have a hard time spinning itself out of this one.

 

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
It was not HIS bailouts... (4.00 / 1)
They are George Bush's bailouts... It's ridiculous that everyone seems to have forgotten that little fact, but that has happened.

I think it's time that people needed some reminding!

The DLC villagers will complain that Deeds wasn't conservative enough which is why he lost.  They simply will not accept that the turnout by the base was depressed.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
If we wait on the DLC-ers to find the light (4.00 / 1)
we will be waiting forever. They are entirely self-referential, lacking any connection with reality.  They aren't going to give up their power or credibility - it must be taken from them.

They don't believe that the base matters.  Like John McCain, Chris Matthews, and the rest of the Village, they believe that conservative white men get three votes, while minorities and hippies get only 1/2.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
I've heard some complaints (4.00 / 1)
about Deeds not being conservative enough...his poll numbers did stall when he announced he wouldn't rule out tax increases...and the public hates tax increases, but he also threatened to opt out of the public option.

That said, I'm not sure if Deeds turned into another Howard Dean, he'd have any better chance. Off year elections are not really good barometers because they depend on specific turnout. When Steve Beshear won the Kentucky's governor's race, it didn't indicate a Democratic revolution in Kentucky...it indicated a horrible GOP candidate.

The question I pose is, if the base is still relatively happy with their national leaders, as polls indicate they are, then why aren't they turning out tomorrow?  


[ Parent ]
No they don't (4.00 / 1)
The public is perfectly willing to support higher taxes, as polls consistently show, if they are spent on the right things OR levied on the right taxpayers (the rich and corporations.)

Also, the McDonnell commercials on the tax increase were as much about flip flopping as about taxes.

Off year elections are not really good barometers because they depend on specific turnout.

True, which is why the base matters so much and a strategy which fails to even attempt to rally the base when the other side is fully mobilized is an odd choice.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
Not on them (4.00 / 1)
Deeds mistakenly sounded like he left open tax increases for everyone, which is a big mistake. If he can specified tax increases on the rich, it would've worked.

People aren't going to vote for a guy who will raise their taxes when they feel the rich are taxed too low.  


[ Parent ]
They were/are Obama's bailouts too .. (0.00 / 0)
.. because Obama personally whipped for them .. or have you forgotten that?

[ Parent ]
The NY races certainly do not reflect any natioonal tend. (0.00 / 0)
There may well be a national trend, but those elections don't reflect anything.

Bloomberg, for all intents and purposes, is a Democrat. NY-23 has been Republican for a century.  


The wingers are all in a tizzy right now ... (0.00 / 0)
Fighting 'tyranny' and all, while most Democrats are either disgusted, discouraged or in wait-and-see mode.  If a decent health care bill passes, Democrats will be at the polls in 2010.  

And Obama will crush any toxic goober the GOP coughs up in 2012 by 5-7-9 points.


IF a decent health-care bill passes, yes (4.00 / 3)

  And the Republicans know this, which is why they're pulling out all the stops to derail health-care reform.

  They can only succeed if the Democrats let them.

  And therein lies our problem.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


[ Parent ]
Orin Hatch openly said as much.... (4.00 / 1)
He thinks the health care bill passing would kill the Republican party completely... said it openly yesterday!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
oh yes (4.00 / 2)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said in an interview with conservative CNSNews.com that the Democrats' plan for health care reform imperils America's two-party system -- apparently because so many people would depend on government programs pushed by Democrats that the Republican Party couldn't retain its supporters.
http://tpmlivewire.talkingpoin...

[ Parent ]
Is there any chance (4.00 / 2)
that any health care bill that will pass will make much of an impact before the 2010 election (or the 2012 election for that matter)?  Health care is something people experience directly, so I suspect whether voters will reward the Democrats for a bill will depend on whether people see an improvement in their own lives.  Maybe I'm wrong, but the Democrats seem intent on making sure things don't change in time to affect the next two cycles.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.

[ Parent ]
CA-10 (4.00 / 3)
John Garamendi, who WILL win tomorrow and by a good margin, is a very deeply progressive Democrat. I have had the pleasure of working with him on several projects in the last two years. He is a massive improvement over Ellen Tauscher and will become one of the leading progressive policy people in the Congress.

No wonder that story won't get covered in the media. It's a story of what was until 1996 a red district, then represented by a moderate Democrat, shifting very clearly to the left in a 2009 off-year election.


To be fair, this election isn't particularly competitive (4.00 / 2)
though, VA Gov isn't either, but VA Gov is a lot more high-profile than a Congressional seat in Contra Costa County.

But like you, I welcome John Garamendi to Congress.  He's a Medicare for All advocate, btw.


[ Parent ]
They Didn't Lose Because They Were Too Far Left (4.00 / 5)
No one can say that Creigh Deeds lost because he was too liberal, progressive, whatever...

No one can say that if Owens loses it was because he was too far left.

If Jon Corzine loses it sure won't be because he is too far left.

The economy is awful (though it could be worse).  The Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House.  People are angry and have short memories.  They are going to blame the party in power.  If the economy starts to get better on Main Street 2010 will be OK.  If the economy gets worse or stays pretty much the same, 2010 is going to be really, really bad for Democrats.  I have hope that there will be solid signs of a turn around for real people, not just our Wall Street overlords, by next summer.  Yes, hope...


We can overcome the economy IF... (4.00 / 5)
Even if the economy is lousy, Democrats will do well in 2010 IF they look like they are fighting for measures that would create jobs and the Republicans look like they are interfering. Republicans will certainly do their part, but the key point is that Democrats must fight for measures that will actually create jobs, not bailouts/bonuses for banksters and not tax cuts.

We need money to go to states so they don't have to lay off teachers. We need a real Green Corps modeled on the Civilian Conservation Corp that would create real jobs insulating houses, be visible in every community in the country, and that gets started soon so it is visible next November. Or, if the Republicans block it, that needs to be obvious so that people know to vote the Republicans out of office so we can get a good Green Corp program.


[ Parent ]
I'm sure you don't need me to point this out (0.00 / 0)
But it's McDonnell, not McConnell.

I'd say NY 23 is already a win for Democrats, no matter how it turns out. (0.00 / 0)
C'mon, a moderate Republican endorsing a moderate Democrat after being abandoned by the national party establishment in favor of a right-wing crazy? That's a story that is just too good for people to stop telling it anytime soon. I keep saying the Democratic party has become the last refuge for political moderates in national politics. It's like they were on some kind of mission to illustrate my point.

Also, even if Hoffman loses, his remarkable success will certainly embolden the radical right-wing to go after any moderate Republicans still in office and to cause trouble for saner Republicans trying to take on Blue Dogs in swing districts. Most places that will likely turn out for them about as well as it usually does.

You gotta kinda figure that with Democrats having eaten Republicans lunch for the last two congressional elections, they've already been beaten back to pretty much the safest of their safe districts. So at this point, one might assume that the very worst Republicans could reasonably be expected to do next would be to break even... unless they just managed to really screw up somehow. And what would be their most likely scenario for really screwing up somehow? Three words: Club for Growth.


Two more races (4.00 / 1)
Referendum 71 in Washington- which protects the state's domestic partnership measure e.g. adoption and sick leave for partner rights- and the ballot measure in Kalamazoo, MI to protect the city's anti-discrimination measure. Not much polling on either, but to put on radars.


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R71: 50-43 (oct. 27) (0.00 / 0)
Voters are prepared to uphold a new state law expanding gay rights, a new SurveyUSA/KING5 poll shows.

The survey says half of those questioned would approve Referendum 71 and 43 percent would reject it. Seven percent remain undecided.

The same poll shows Tim Eyman's latest government spending measure, Initiative 1033, could be heading to defeat. Fiftey percent are voting no, 38 percent are voting yes and 12 percent are unsure, the survey of 567 likely and actual voters says.

We'll add a link to the details of the poll as soon as its available.

The election is Nov. 3.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seat...

I see it was 45-42 on oct. 7:

A new KING5/SurveyUSA poll shows that next month's vote on whether to uphold the state's new "everything but marriage" same-sex domestic partner law will likely be close.

Referendum 71 was put on the ballot by people seeking to strike down the law passed by the Legislature this year. A "yes" vote keeps the law in place; a "no" vote strikes it down.

According to the survey:

# 45 percent of likely voters say they are certain to approve R-71.

# 42 percent say they are certain to reject it.


# 13 percent are undecided.

Men are certain to reject R-71 by a 46 to 42 percent margin, the poll says, while women woud approve it 48-36. People ages 18-34 approve of R-71, 58 percent to 36 percent.

There's a stark divide among people who identify as Democrats and Republicans on the measure. Democrats would approve it 72-15 while Republicans would reject it 72-17, the poll says.

The survey of 548 likely voters was taken Oct. 3-5 and has a margin of error of 4.3 percent.

The original domestic partnership law, backed by Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, two years ago, provided inheritance rights in cases where there was no will, hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations. About 6,000 domestic partnership registrations have been filed since July 2007.

Some rights and responsibilities that would be extended to gay and lesbian families under the latest legislation are:

# Victims' rights, including the right to receive notifications and benefits allowances.

# Business succession rights.

# Legal process rights, such as the ability to sign certain documents, the requirement to join in certain petitions, rights to cause of action, and ability to transfer licenses without charge.

# The right to use sick leave to care for a spouse.

# The right to wages and benefits when a spouse is injured, and to unpaid wages upon death of spouse.

# The right to unemployment and disability insurance benefits disability insurance issues

# Workers' compensation coverage.

New Jersey, California, New Hampshire, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have laws that either recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships that afford same-sex couples similar rights to marriage. Thirty states have gay marriage bans in their constitutions.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seat...

more http://blog.seattlepi.com/seat...

or

http://www.seattlepi.com/elect...

                           


[ Parent ]
Does it matter? (0.00 / 0)
We've already lost the narrative.  Dems are big losers even if they win all the races today.

What kinds of screens are in place on those generic congressional and Obama approval polls? (0.00 / 0)
Are they using a registered voter or some kind of likely voter screen?

Because we may be seeing the same 2-3% drop in Democratic enthusiasm in all these polls, and no real Republican gains in the middle of the electorate.  If GOP intensity is up and Dem intensity is down then the polls would shift against us even if not one swing voter changed their minds.  And looking at the relationship between McCain voters and McDonnell voters, it looks to me like we are seeing a massive falloff in the Dem base, and not much further movement than that.

Which is good.  Good legislation will fix this problem (in addition to being good legislation on the merits!).  Someone needs to make the argument in the halls of Congress though.


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