Thursday, August 19, 2010

Democrats' "Extreme" Strategy May not Work

Facing awful polling numbers, an unpopular President, and a dreadful economy Democrats have sought to change the narrative of the 2010 midterms by portraying Republican candidates as being "outside the mainstream" and "extreme." This is hardly a new strategy and Republicans have often sought to define Democratic candidates as too liberal for the American mainstream.

There is mounting evidence, however, that the strategy will have little effect on the outcome of the 2010 election. With the President sinking to new lows in public approval, seemingly everyday, and the Democratic led Congress reaching all time lows of public approval it's increasing hard for the Democrats to define their opponents as extreme.

The Hotline is reporting today that "A prominent Democratic pollster is circulating a survey that shows George W. Bush is 6 points more popular than President Obama in "Frontline" districts -- seats held by Democrats that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sees as most vulnerable to Republican takeover. That Bush is more popular than Obama in Democratic-held seats is cause for outright fear."

You read that correctly, President Bush - who left office with a 35% approval rating - is more popular than Barack Obama in key congressional districts currently held by Democrats - that is devastating.

It is also clear that the Republicans are going to push back hard against the extremist label. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has released a very hard hitting ad suggesting that Republicans are not the extremists in this election.

Adding his voice to the chorus of bad news, Charlie Cook has just released a revised estimate of the House 2010 outlook:
With today’s ratings changes in 10 House districts, The Cook Political Report is now raising its House forecast from a Republican net gain of between 32 and 42 seats to a gain of between 35 and 45 seats, with the odds of an outcome larger than that range greater than the odds of a lesser outcome. A turnover of 39 seats would tip majority status into Republican hands. At this point, only 214 House seats are Solid, Likely or Lean Democratic, while 181 seats are Solid, Likely or Lean Republican, and 40 seats are in the Toss Up column. While this would imply an advantage for Democrats, given the continuous erosion we have seen in dozens of contests so far this cycle, races shifting from Solid and Likely Democrat to Lean Democratic and Toss Up, we would be surprised if there was not more movement over the 78 days from now until Election Day.
There are barely 80 days to go and Democrats still have not found a narrative that works for them - and they are running out of time.