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
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:
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:
This is the problem with President Obama’s base mobilization strategy. The Bush tax cuts are a big deal on the left, and President Obama needs the left on board to keep November from being a total disaster. Yet proposals that will help amp up the base put members like Mitchell and Klein in a precarious position with independents and swing voters in their districts.
That’s why my thinking now is that the White House expects to lose scores of districts where Democratic victories depend on swing voters, and are focusing on bucking up the party base for districts where the Democrats dominate. Districts like ME-1 are probably rising to the top of the list. Bobby Bright will have to fend for himself...
4. Senate polls. A trio of Rasmussen polls show the Republicans are performing well in critical Senate contests. Rasmussen finds Roy Blunt holding a comfortable lead over Robin Carnahan in Missouri. In Illinois, he finds Republican Mark Kirk opening up a modest lead over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias. Rasmussen’s previous poll showed a dead heat, though Kirk’s new lead is just within the margin of error. Finally, a follow-up poll in West Virginia finds Governor Joe Manchin up by just five points over Republican John Raese. It looks like there is going to be a fight in the Mountain State this cycle!
5. Warning from Charlie Cook. Charlie Cook was perhaps the first mainstream media analyst to recognize how much trouble the Democrats were going to be in this cycle. And his latest column in National Journal does not beat around the bush:
And it’s only September. Oh my!