The Clouds Are Gathering
There's a storm coming in, and this is the one Jimbo fears the most. Charlie Cook starts it out in his National Journal Column (subscription required):
Are the Republicans in serious danger of losing both the House and the Senate? Or would the Democrats have to get extremely lucky to take control of either chamber? At least for the moment, the forecast depends on whether contests are examined race by race -- the "micro" approach -- or are looked at altogether in light of the national political environment.
The latter, "macro" approach is the one that suggests that the GOP could get swamped by a tidal wave. By almost every relevant measurement, national polls indicate that Republicans are at least as bad off as Democrats were at this point in 1994, before suffering devastating midterm losses.
Congressional incumbents are slightly more popular as a group than they were a dozen years ago. Then, 35 percent of voters were inclined to re-elect their House member; 47 percent preferred someone new. Now re-election is the choice of 41 percent, while 48 percent want a new face. When voters were asked which party they favored in the coming congressional election, the 1994 Democrats were running 5 points ahead, 34 percent to 29 percent, in the NBC/Journal poll. Now that survey shows Democrats have a 13-point lead, 50 percent to 37 percent.
Today's national data forecast an anti-GOP tidal wave. Will it be large enough to wipe out structural advantages that benefit Republicans?
Many incumbents like Jimbo have a structural advantage when the election is about bringing home the bacon, but luckily, MSNBC's First Read answers that concern:
Asked which would be more important in determining how they vote, their own representative's position on national issues or their representative's performance in their district, 44% said "national issues" and 40% said performance in the district. That's a greater percentage choosing "national issues" than in October 1994 (35%).
Everyone observing this race knows that Jimbo is ideologically out of touch with his district, the only things that have kept him in office, is lack of a strong challenger and ladling out pork at home. If those poll numbers are right, and the race is fought on national issues, its going to be a long election for Jimbo.