According to the new Washington Post poll, the Republican Party has gained no ground on the Democrats on the generic congressional ballot. Those polled favor Democratic candidates 51%-39%. This represents no change from 2008 when Democrats led 52%-37%, and 2006 when Democrats led 51%-45%.
Greg Sargent looked at the numbers on his The Plumline blog. It is not surprising that the GOP would not be able to make up any ground, due to the fact that they are still proposing the same ideas that they ran on in 2006 and 2008. Recent polling shows that we are starting to see Obama and the Democrats recovering from a rough summer.
The main problem for Republicans is that their numbers remain abysmally low. In the Washington Post poll, only 19% of those surveyed trust the Republicans in Congress to make the right decision for the country. This is a ten point drop from a January poll where confidence in congressional Republicans was at 29%. Congressional Democrats have also seen their number decline from 43%-34%.
Republicans also hit a new low in party identification. Only 20% of those surveyed identified themselves as Republicans. This is down from a high of 29% in February. Judging from these numbers, it would appear that the GOP’s slash and burn, just say no strategy is appealing to the base, but not helping their party grow.
As far as 2010 is concerned, mid-term elections are a different animal. Republicans are planning to run on healthcare reform, which I believe is gigantic mistake, as the issue that will likely decide many of these races will be the economy. If the economy improves, Democrats will be able to minimize their losses. If the economy is bad Republicans could gain 20 seats in the House.
The wild card, as is the case with any midterm election, is turnout. If Republicans show up and Democrats, don’t, it will be a good day for the GOP, but Republicans could just as easily give back any gains they make in 2010 in 2012. The right likes to tell themselves that a win in 2010 will mean that the GOP is back, but this looks like wishful thinking and fantasy.