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Morning Jay: The Dukakis Coalition, Leave Mike Castle Alone, Senate Polls, Cook's Dire Warning, and More!

6:30 AM, Sep 10, 2010 • By JAY COST
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1. Latest signs of the Dem-Pocalypse.  PPP polls Maine and finds both Democratic  incumbents under 50%.  In ME-1, Democrat Chellie Pingree leads Republican Dean Scontras 47-38.  In ME-02, Democrat Michael Michaud leads Republican Jason Levesque 45-38.  This is despite the fact that the Republican challengers in both districts are so unknown that 2/3rds of the voters do not have an opinion of them. 

PPP finds Barack Obama’s job approval under water in both districts (-2 in ME-1 and -13 in ME-2).  Obama won ME-1 by 23 points and he carried ME-2 by 12.   That makes for a swing of 25 points in both districts between 2008 and 2010.  

These are terrible numbers for the Democrats.  Michaud in particular should start sweating.

In other Dem-Pocalypse news, the Hotline poll of Beltway insiders shows Democratic elites increasingly pessimistic about holding the House:

When asked to rate the odds that the Republicans would retake the House on a scale of zero (no chance) to 10 (virtual certainty) the 101 Democratic Insiders who participated in the poll this week gave an average score of 6.7. In September of 2006, when the same question was asked about the prospects for the Democrats toppling the GOP majority that existed four years ago, Democratic Insiders rated their chances of takeover at 6.6 on the same scale of zero-to-10…

Is it any wonder?  Internal Democratic polling must be producing results similar to what are coming out of Maine from PPP.  And if the Democrats are struggling in Maine, then they are stuck with the Dukakis coalition.

2. If you want to repeal Obamacare, leave Mike Castle alone.  Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Tea Party-backed Christine O’Donnell is going to make next week’s GOP Senate primary battle in Delaware an attention-grabber.

Republicans can peel back much of Obamacare through de-funding, but a full-blown repeal is probably going to require not only a new president, but a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

That is a possibility, though it won’t be easy.  The GOP is currently 19 seats short of a filibuster-proof majority, but this year polling averages suggest that the party is currently set to pick up 8 seats.   Then in 2012, scores of Democrats are up for reelection: in California, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. 

The GOP just cannot win some of these seats, e.g. Hawaii, but if the Republicans are strong enough to take the White House in 2012, they will probably be on the attack in many of these states.  I count 12 seats in states that either went for Bush in 2004 or for which Bush was campaigning heavily.  An R+5 year could tip many of these seats to the GOP.  So, it’s possible.

But this also means that every seat counts.  Mike Castle voted against ObamaCare, and he has co-sponsored the bill to repeal it.  Is he really worth going after?  A pickup of 19 seats in two years is a monumentally difficult task.  It seems to me that at a time when the party needs every seat it can get, Castle can get one.

3. Divided Dems.  Lots of Democrats have been balking at recent administration proposals on the economy.  This is from Greg Sargent:

* Rep Jim Himes of Conneticut says he supports a termporary extension, because earning $250,000 annually "does not make you really rich."

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