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November rumblings

Both the WaPo and the WaTi are running articles suggesting, at the very least, that the tide is running in a Republican direction right now.

Two points worth noting, the first from the WaPo:

The president’s support among Republicans has risen, and once-balky GOP voters apparently have begun to coalesce around vulnerable House incumbents, operatives on both sides believe. "Republicans seem to be awakening and coming back to their partisan senses," said a Democratic strategist, who would discuss private data only on the condition of anonymity.

Democrats see independent voters, who continue to register disapproval of Bush and Congress, as the key to victory. Republicans, citing low turnout in many primaries this year, believe many of those independents will not vote in November and are focused on mobilizing their own base.

Translation: everything will depend upon the ground game.

Second, from the WaTi:

[A]dditional polling data released by Gallup within the past week suggest that not only is the president changing voter attitudes about the war in Iraq, but that the Democrats’ inability to shape a strong message about dealing with terrorism and Iraq may be hurting them among their own base.

"Americans are more positive about the war on terror, and voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports Bush on terrorism, rather than one who opposes him," Gallup said in a separate analysis. "By a slight margin, Americans tend to think that the country will be safer from terrorism if the GOP retains control of the House, rather than if the Democrats take control."

While a majority of Americans still disapprove of Mr. Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq, only one in four now "believe the Democrats have a clear plan on Iraq -- fewer than those who say this about the Bush administration," Gallup said.

"Also, Americans are about equally likely to say they would vote for a candidate who supports President Bush on Iraq as to vote for a candidate who opposes Bush," the pollsters said.

What should worry Democratic campaign officials "is the fact that only 14 percent say the Democrats have a clear plan, but Bush does not, while a greater percentage (23 percent) says Bush has a clear plan, but the Democrats do not," Gallup said.

Translation: Democrats fear that their full-throated endorsement of the "Demcoratic wing of the Democratic Party"’s position on Iraq will not help their chances, but neither does straddling the middle.

Discussions - 4 Comments

So, the Dems. will change their rhetoric on the war in the coming weeks, to appeal to voters’ fears about Iraq, which I would complain about, except that it will be so nice to hear less of that particular foolishness, which has been a grief.

Another point, about elections on the more local level: in the House races, people do not just vote for such candidates based on big issues like their stand on the war. It has influence, and such a stand seems to local voters as a measure of the candidate’s character. (The abortion issue does the same thing.) They also look to the candidates and either "like" them or do not. I do not see how broad picture political analyses can ever measure that sort of thing.

Yes, busy people (LOTS of them being Republican) only begin to become aware of the coming elections after Labor Day. However, I know MANY local people who ALWAYS vote, and yet, do not really become aware of the issues and candidates in any but a very vague way until the week or two before the election. I have always suspected that this is a reason why polling can be so very off. Such people will not even talk about the elections too far ahead saying that they do not have time to think about it, yet. Most people prioritise, and political thought only is allowed in the proper season. Yes, some of us worry about this stuff all year round, but most people do not.

The situation is fluid. What we have now is an opportunity to limit our losses to a very minimal level, and conceivably even to gain seats. What we absolutely do not have is the luxury of indulging in armchair speculation about the alleged good consequences of losing Congress. We must not give any Republicans permission to sit out this election, let alone vote Democratic. It is very unfortunate that some conservative leaders have engaged in this premature discussion (or worse, premature surrender). The time for such discussion is Wednesday, November 8, win or lose. Not one day sooner.

Does an army lose a battle in order to win a war? Rarely, if ever. Not giving it our best invites not only a loss, but a disaster.

DF is right that the situation is very worrisome but fluid, and only an idiot would actually plan to surrender while he still had some ammo. I should add that the press on Allen continues to get worse, and that even the Weekly Standard has joined in the chorus. Finally, this NYT story about the intelligence report(s) that we’re more vulnerable to terrorism because of the war in Iraq may do considerable damage. I’ve already gotten several emails on it.

The Standard’s article on Allen seems close to a hit piece. He’s no rocket scientist, but we need him to win. Whether he’s presidential timber (probably not, judging by recent performance) is an irrelevant question at this point.

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