As the crispness of Fall begins to fill the air, Republican poll leads are shrinking around the country as Democratic voters have begun to come back to their ideological home. Republicans may lead in the meaningless generic ballot poll question, but after the DNC raised a record $16 million in September, it is clear that Democrats are alive and well.
According to The Fix, “The Democratic National Committee raised $16 million in September alone, a startlingly strong month of fundraising that party operatives insist is a sign of momentum for their side with roughly one month remaining before the November midterms.” If fundraising numbers don’t convince you that a momentum shift is occurring, look at the tightening of races all over the country according recent polling.
Money itself does not an election victory make, but the willingness of Democratic supporters to open their wallets and donate to the party goes a long way towards debunking the media driven enthusiasm gap narrative. The DNC record haul was not only their best month of 2010, but also their best year since 2002. What is even more encouraging for Democrats is that 80% of the record total came from the Internet and direct mailings, not fundraisers featuring wealthy individual donors.
On the GOP side, the RNC has not, and probably will not release their fundraising numbers. Michael Steele has crushed all Republican confidence in the organization, and the RNC has been struggling to raise money since he became chairman. Republican donors have completely marginalized the RNC, and the GOP will continue to rely on outside 527 groups to fund their slate of candidates around the country.
This seems like a good time to point out how meaningless the generic poll question designed to measure voter enthusiasm really is. The media loves the would you vote for a generic Republican or a generic Democrat poll question. They claim that the question measures voter enthusiasm, but voters don’t vote for a generic candidate. They vote for individual candidates. Plus the poll question never accounts for the fact that the bum in Congress is never the bum that represents them. The problem is always everyone else’s congress person, not theirs.
What the generic who would you vote for question really measures is expectations. The question is actually asking respondents who they think will win the election, and with the media hammering expectation of a Democratic bloodbath everyday, it isn’t surprising that Democratic supporters would have strong negative expectations about this election. The question is the kind that could become a self fulfilling prophecy. This isn’t to say that the Democrats won’t lose seats, they definitely will, but as Election Day draws closer the expected Republican tidal wave could turn out to be more myth than fact.
It isn’t a coincidence that as President Obama has hit the road and started to campaign for Democrats and define the message of the 2010 election, Democratic voters have more engaged. I believe that Obama still has the ability to motivate Democrats to the polls, and as voters begin to understand what is at stake in this election, along with just how far to the right Republican Tea Party candidates are Democratic support is growing. Contrary to the media narrative, Democrats are far from dead. In fact they may not only survive, but retain their majorities in what was supposed to be the so called year of the Republican.