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Monday, July 17, 2006
Perfect Storm to Sweep Away Republicans?

So claims Thomas E. Mann.

If history is any guide, we're heading into a major political storm. And that means we could see a national tide in November that will sweep the Democrats back into the majority.

Virtually every public opinion measure points to a Category 4 or 5 hurricane gathering. Bush's job-approval rating is below 40 percent, and congressional job approval is more than 10 percentage points lower. Only a quarter of the electorate thinks the country is moving in the right direction, and voters are unhappy with the economy under Bush. Finally, Democrats hold a double-digit lead as the party the public trusts to do a better job of tackling the nation's problems and the party it would like to see controlling Congress.

Of course, a more relevant question is how voters think their individual congressman or woman is doing. Although this article is hardly convincing there are other signs that the GOP may be in trouble. For example, in the Minnesota race to succeed Mark Dayton, the Democrat has surged out to a big early lead:

DFL Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar has opened up a strong early lead over GOP rival Mark Kennedy in a Minnesota Poll that shows Klobuchar with 50 percent of likely voters' support, compared with 31 percent for Kennedy.

Much can change between now and November. But in what had widely been considered a close race, Klobuchar in midsummer has more support than Kennedy in nearly every demographic category: men, women, liberals, independents, lower- and upper-income Minnesotans, seniors, urban dwellers, suburbanites and outstaters.

Kennedy is most popular with younger Minnesotans -- he leads Klobuchar 63 to 16 percent among those under age 25 -- and with Republicans, but he is behind in nearly every other category the July 6-11 poll measured.

It is also borne out in other races that were not supposed to be competitive but which are surprisingly turning out to be so. For example, Arizona's Senator Jon Kyl should be sitting pretty right now, running for reelection in a red state with two terms under his belt, and a "Top Ten" rating from Time Magazine. Instead he's in a dogfight with a challenger who has almost no elective experience.

A lot can change between now and November. But we're going to have to make it change; the media are going to be negative every step of the way.

Updates: Captain Ed says not to believe the Strib's polls; they consistently understate Republican performance.
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