Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Friday, January 06, 2006
The 'uh-ohs' keep coming
Who's the guy from The Hotline who's always on MSNBC dismissing the idea of Democrats making electoral gains from the woes of the president and the GOP? Maybe he should sit out the next few episodes of "Hardball..."
WASHINGTON - In an ominous election-year sign for Republicans, Americans are leaning sharply toward giving Democrats control of Congress, an AP-Ipsos poll finds. Democrats are favored 49 percent to 36 percent.

The poll was taken this week as Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to tax evasion, fraud and corruption charges and agreed to aid a federal investigation of members of Congress and other government officials.

President Bush’s job approval remains low — 40 percent in the AP-Ipsos poll. About as many approve of his handling of Iraq, where violence against Iraqis and U.S. troops has surged. ...

... About a third of the public, 34 percent, approves of the job Congress is doing, and nearly twice as many, 63 percent, disapprove, according to the poll of 1,001 adults taken Jan. 3-5. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points. Public opinion of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress has been mixed, recent polling found.
Which might not matter so much -- and clearly, it's way too early for this to be concrete -- except that:
In the Senate, 33 seats will be on the ballot in November, 17 of them currently in Democratic hands, 15 controlled by Republicans, and one held by Sen. James Jeffords, a Vermont independent. Democrats now have 44 Senate seats and need to pick up seven to gain a majority, six if Vermont independent Bernie Sanders replaces Jeffords.

All 435 House seats are on the ballot this fall, and Democrats need to pick up at least 15 to become the majority party and take control of the House.
The only issue remaining is non-competitive seats -- but if the present environment extends through the summer, it could all depend on what the meaning of "competitive" is...

What Republicans have to worry about is that every voter who isn't a hard-core Republican -- and that means the all important swing voters -- could very well be moved by an argument that we need divided government in order to curb the corruption and rot in Washington, and in order to force bi-partisan solutions to the big problems facing us, particularly in Iraq. If the Dems make that argument persuasively: vote for divided government -- vote Democrat... and if enough Republicans are brought low by the Abramoff-DeLay scandal taint, a change in the lower, and especially the upper, chambers is very much a possibility.

Of course, the other side could be energized by the notion of John Conyers chairing the judiciary committee...

While this poll feels like a blockbuster, the fact is, the public has been trending Democrat in the preferences for Congress since last Fall. Take a look at the trends for yourself.

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posted by JReid @ 7:36 PM  
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