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June 18, 2006
CNN: Democrats Congressional Support Eroding

The efforts of Democratic caucuses in both houses of Congress to set a mid-term election agenda have had a definite effect on their standings with the electorate -- they've eroded them significantly. According to CNN, Democrats have lost seven points and the majority in support for a generic party preference, while Republicans have remained steady:

When registered voters polled were asked if they were more or less likely to vote for a candidate Bush supported, 47 percent said they were less likely, while only 27 percent said they were more likely. Twenty percent said it made no difference. The sampling error for the question was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

However, the poll showed that Democrats have so far not been able to capitalize on Bush's political difficulties.

When voters were asked which party would be their choice for Congress in November, 45 percent said Democrat and 38 percent Republican. Twelve percent were unsure. However, in May, Democrats captured 52 percent in the same generic ballot question, showing their support had dropped 7 points in a month.

It's been over this past month that the Democrats have tried twice to outline its agenda in the midterms, and this result shows that they may have been better off saying nothing at all. Considering that the agendas they announced rely on traditional big-government solutions and hardly address national security at all, in effect they gave voters nothing to attract their support. They may have earlier overplayed their zeal to start all sorts of investigations of the Bush administration rather than focus on legislative efforts, and their later demurrals have fooled no one.

The Republicans have not made much headway in attracting those that the Democrats have repelled, however. The seven points moved into the unsure column, which doesn't exactly bode for a banner election for the GOP, at least not yet. However, it does show that a significant part of the disaffection from the GOP comes from its own performance as the party in charge, and that they still have a chance to convince voters to stick with the Republican candidates in the fall. It also means that the Republicans have an opening to run against the agendas that the Democrats keep retooling. They will probably be helped by the efforts of the far Left towards abandoning Iraq to the terrorists, a move that got so little support in the US Senate that it exposed and widened a split in the Democratic Party in a time when unity is a necessity.

These results appear to benefit incumbents more than anyone else. The voters in individual districts may well stick with what they have rather than change horses if the trends remain. Democratic hopes for recapturing either house of Congress may have to wait for the presidential election, as long as they can field a ticket with enough strength to pull down-ticket votes their way. (via The Moderate Voice, which has a number of excellent posts this weekend.)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 18, 2006 10:47 AM

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