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The Congressional Battleground Also a Surprise at 100 Days
Monday, April 27 2009
Attachments:
Download this file (bg10042109fq2web1.pdf)Frequency Questionnaire[ ]111 Kb
Download this file (congressional-battleground-after-100-days-condenced042709.pdf)Graphs[ ]283 Kb

The congressional battleground districts for 2010 may not act to type, according to a new survey by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in the 40 most marginal Democratic seats where nearly all expect Republicans to reclaim lost ground and the 15 most marginal Republican seats where incumbents should be safe. But as most commentators stop to contemplate the president's first 100 days, they should also look at the congressional dynamic. With Congress poised to vote on the president's budget, the Democratic incumbents are winning over 50 percent of the vote” stable over the last three months”and hold double-digit leads against their generic challengers.

A new survey by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in the 40 most marginal Democratic seats shows Democratic incumbents holding strong in the territory where nearly all expect Republicans to reclaim lost ground. With Congress poised to vote on the president's budget, the Democratic incumbents are winning over 50 percent of the vote - stable over the last three months - and hold a double-digit lead against their generic challengers even in the 20 most difficult seats. Meanwhile, in the 15 most marginal Republican districts the incumbents are far from safe. They beat their generic Democratic challengers by just 6 points and fail to top 50 percent in the vote (48 to 42 percent). Republicans are still on defense while President Obama remains very popular across all of these districts.

Even more troubling for these Republican incumbents is that their support is easily eroded when they are tied to their party's opposition to President Obama's economic agenda. After we play out a simulated debate on the economy and budget, the Republican members lose significant ground. They fall into a dead heat with their generic challengers (46 to 45 percent in favor of the Democrats) after facing attacks on their votes against the president's economic recovery and budget plans, and particularly their opposition to changing the Bush economic policies that favored the wealthy and corporations over the middle class. By comparison, even after being attacked for wasteful spending, the AIG scandal and raising taxes, the Democratic incumbents maintain their 13-point advantage.

Although the incumbents are fairly popular personally, they get just lukewarm numbers wanting to “re-elect" them (with the Republican incumbents weaker), suggesting that voters still remain to be convinced and that many of these incumbents could still face competitive races. But the combination of President Obama's strong standing and the continuing tarnish on the Republican brand leaves the Democratic incumbents in a much stronger position.

This memo is based on a survey of 1,500 likely voters in the 40 most competitive Democratic-held districts and the 15 most marginal Republican-held districts conducted for Democracy Corps by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research April 16-21, 2009.

 

Analysis: Report on survey in the 40 Democratic and 15 Republican congressional battleground districts

 

The congressional battleground districts for 2010 may not act to type, according to a new survey by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research in the 40 most marginal Democratic seats where nearly all expect Republicans to reclaim lost ground and the 15 most marginal Republican seats where incumbents should be safe. But as most commentators stop to contemplate the president’s first 100 days, they should also look at the congressional dynamic. With Congress poised to vote on the president’s budget, the Democratic incumbents are winning over 50 percent of the vote — stable over the last three months — and hold double-digit leads against their generic challengers. Indeed, the Democrats in the most difficult 20 seats (top tier) enjoy a lead twice the size of that for the most vulnerable Republican incumbents who fail to top 50 percent and who lose ground after the budget debate in this survey. Republicans are still on defense, while President Obama remains very popular across all of these districts