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Morning Jay: Base Politics, "Indispensable" Murkowski, House Polls, and More!

6:30 AM, Sep 9, 2010 • By JAY COST
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I’ll be interested to see if Obama appoints one of those “idealists” to the chief of staff position.  I’ve long thought that Obama is in a presidential bubble, insulated by too many advisers who really, truly believe he is “the One,” as conservatives like to say.  Emanuel is one of the few in the West Wing who probably does not think this.  And he’s on his way out the door, by many accounts.

So, does Obama stay inside the bubble and promote somebody like Valerie Jarrett to the chief of staff position, or does he go outside the inner circle, to a “non-believer?”  He should do the latter, but my hunch is that he won’t.

4. Bad polls for House Dems. Stuart Rothenberg published a smart column yesterday pointing out that Democrats look very weak in House polls:

In recent GOP polling, many Democrats are far below 50 percent on the ballot, and a startling number have been running behind their Republican challengers. Democrats dispute most of those surveys, but some will privately acknowledge that many of their incumbents are in dead heats with lesser-known challengers.

The campaign polling I’ve seen tends to follow one of two tracks.  Polls from Republican candidates and independent pollsters like SurveyUSA show GOP challengers either ahead or in a dead heat with Democratic incumbents (most recently in AZ-1, AZ-5, CT-5, FL-24, KY-3, ND-AL, SD-AL, VA-5, WA-2, and WV-1).  The Democratic polls usually show the Democrat with a lead, but below or near 50% (most recently in AL-2, IL-10, MS-1, NC-8, NY-24, PA-4, and SD-AL).  Those Democratic numbers are pretty weak, considering the partisan source. Campaign polling needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but these kinds of results suggest exactly what the national numbers do: scores of Democratic-held seats are in danger of falling to the GOP.

5. Final thought on Gallup generic. At the Pollster blog, Margie Omero argues that recent Democratic gains in the Gallup generic ballot are mostly due to “Democrats consolidating the base.” 

That's correct, but the issue should be moot once Gallup starts publishing its likely voter model.  It is important to remember that the unprecedented Republican enthusiasm gap is largely not reflected in the Gallup generic just yet because it is still a registered voter poll. 

This week’s "dramatic" tie is a product of two opposing trends: registered voter models usually favor Democrats; independent voters are overwhelmingly favoring Republicans right now.  The Gallup likely voter model will add in the significant GOP advantage in voter enthusiasm, and thus should show a notable GOP lead.

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