Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Democracy Corps Puts MI-07 Close, Possibly Democratic Advantage

Democracy Corps is a group founded by Bill Clinton adviser James Carville and pollser Stanley Greenberg which advises Democrats and analyzes elections. Every so often, they release a "battleground poll" surveying the most competitive congressional races in the country. Although they don't give any information broken down by district, they use this to analyze national trends.

In 2008, Michigan's 7th District is listed in "Tier 1" of Republican-held seats, along with 19 others. In total, 50 districts were included in the survey.

The whole report is worth reading if you're a political junkie. I thought I'd share a few interesting items. Remember, this isn't a poll of the 7th District, but it's a poll that includes the 7th District.
The financial crisis, which had not yet reached its peak when this survey was in the field, is driving a deepening anger across the country and in these Republican districts. Just 14 percent of likely voters believe the country is heading in the right direction, the lowest number we have seen in our Democracy Corps congressional polling, even in this Republican battleground. The intensely negative mood is more directed at Republicans, who are seeing their brand continue to erode. President Bush remains toxic and the Republican Party is now significantly less popular than the Democrats, even in this more conservative battleground.
Democratic candidates are taking advantage of this favorable environment and now hold a 49 percent to 45 percent lead in the 40-seat Republican battleground.>[2] This is a broad lead – with Democrats holding equal 4-point cushions in the top tier of races, the 20 most vulnerable seats, and in the second tier, the next 20 districts.� If the election were held today, Democrats would be poised to win, perhaps, well upwards of 20 Republican seats.
... In fact, Republican incumbents are losing further ground, being dragged down by the toxic environment and unpopular GOP brand. As disdain for Washington has increased, the Republican incumbents have failed to establish their independence from Bush or their party. Since May, the percent saying Republican incumbents are not independent has risen from 45 to 53 percent while the percent saying these incumbents follow Bush’s direction too much has jumped from 40 to 49 percent.>[3]
Meanwhile, 48 percent now disagree that Republican incumbents are “on your side,” up from 40 percent four months ago. This key attribute is another important driver of the vote in our regressions. As a result of this poor performance on so many attributes, a near majority of 48 percent of voters in these 40 Republican districts now say they simply can’t vote to reelect their incumbent congressman and in a named matchup, the Democratic challengers lead these incumbents 49-45.
(Emphasis added.)

By now, I've probably exceeded fair use guidlines, but there's a lot more in the full report that's worth reading. It doesn't mean that Tim Walberg will lose to Mark Schauer, but it does mean that we're part of a nationwide trend toward the Democrats this year. If you're a Democrat, you've got a lot of reasons to be optimistic.

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