Two recent articles detail why it's bad news to be a Republican in New York this year.
First, is this from Bloomberg News:
The Democrats' prospects for winning control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November may rest with two high-powered New York politicians who aren't even running for seats: Hillary Rodham Clinton and Eliot Spitzer.
The two are so strong politically that they may lift Democratic candidates across the state, said Lee Miringoff, director of the Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. Spitzer, 46, led potential Republican candidates by margins ranging from 18 to 66 percentage points in a Qunnipiac University poll last month; a Marist poll earlier this year found that 54 percent of New Yorkers ``definitely'' plan to vote for Clinton, 58.
``It could turn into a Democratic year in New York, which might then have an impact on down-ballot races for Congress,'' Miringoff said.
Democrats are also targeting seats held by Republicans Sherwood Boehlert, Randy Kuhl, Tom Reynolds, James Walsh, and Sue Kelly, said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He said Democrats may have an advantage because of a flagging economy in upstate New York, and will be helped by the candidates at the top of the ticket.
``Hillary Clinton and Eliot Spitzer are get-out-the-vote magnets for the Democrats,'' Emanuel said in an interview.
Walsh's leading Democratic challenger, former House Ways and Means Committee aide Dan Maffei, has raised $207,000 so far, compared with the $381,000 raised by the nine-term lawmaker. The Syracuse district gave Kerry 50 percent of its vote in 2004 to 48 percent for Bush.
Democrats are buoyed by recent polls that have found Bush's approval ratings at record lows, and more voters favor Democrats over Republicans to represent them in Congress.
A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll found that registered voters favor Democrats by 49 percent to 35 percent as the party they would like to see win their congressional district this year. The poll of 1,357 adults was conducted April 8 to 11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
``The House of Representatives is in play, and the Democrats do have a chance to win it in November,'' said political analyst Rothenberg.
USA Today also wrote about it, though the article mainly focuses on John Sweeney:
“If there is a (Democratic) wave this year and it's going to hit anywhere, it's the Northeast,” says Amy Walter, analyst at the non-partisan Cook Political Report. “That is where Bush's weakness is felt.”
The regional focus mirrors the approach used by Republicans in 1994 when they capitalized on dissatisfaction with President Clinton's failed health care plan to target Democrats in the South, an area already tilting their way. Republicans picked up 52 House seats, with their biggest gains in the South, and ended 40 years of Democratic rule.
Now Democrats hope to do the reverse in the Northeast. Dartmouth University political scientist Linda Fowler says the “most ominous” signs for Republicans there are the disenchantment of independent voters and fiscal conservatives who are fed up with deficit spending by Congress. The GOP must also contend with the historical tendency of the party that controls the White House to lose congressional seats in the middle of a second presidential term.
Sarah Chamberlain Resnick, executive director of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership, which includes several Northeastern lawmakers, says the GOP faces several challenges: “The president's numbers, the war in Iraq, the famous six-year itch. There's a lot of things that are around this.”