Sunday, May 21, 2006

Big Trouble for Republicans

The New York Times has an article detailing how bleak things look for Republicans:

Over the past week, a handful of once-safe Republican Congressional seats have come into play, and other Republican incumbents are facing increasingly stiff re-election battles, according to analysts, pollsters and officials in both parties. The change amounts to a slight but significant shift in the playing field, and a potentially pivotal change in the dynamics of this midterm election.


The nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which tracks Congressional races, increased the number of Republican seats viewed as competitive on Friday to 36 from 24, said Amy Walter, an analyst there. Democrats seem to be in increasingly good shape to pick up seats in bands of districts across Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York, as well as districts throughout Ohio, North Carolina, Arizona, New Mexico, California and Florida. Democrats need to pick up 15 Republican seats to take control.

"The playing field is certainly expanding," Ms. Walter said. "Clearly what we are seeing is that the political environment is taking a toll and dragging down Republican incumbents; it's dragging down their polling numbers. The question is, What will the environment be in November?"


One senior Republican strategist, granted anonymity because his assessment would put him at odds with party leaders, said that Democrats were succeeding in their main goal: turning the race into a national referendum on Mr. Bush and the Republican Party. "Is the race being nationalized?" this strategist said. "Yes."


Of particular concern for Republicans is that many of the party's most loyal supporters — who are crucial to the outcome in midterm elections, when turnout is typically low — seem discouraged and prone to saying home, according to several recent polls. At the same time, Democratic voters are described by officials in both parties as being as energized as they have been in recent memory.


Stuart Rothenberg, an independent analyst who tracks Congressional races, said his latest forecast, to be distributed next week, predicted that Democrats could make gains of 8 to 12 seats. That is an increase from a prediction last month that Democrats would gain 7 to 10 seats.

"When we say Democrats are positioned to gain 8 to 12 seats, that certainly means the House is in play," Mr. Rothenberg said. "And those numbers are likely to go up. They are more likely to go up than they are to go down, that's for sure."

There is a storm a brewin for many Republicans, and Jimbo is among them, the article points out this interesting point too:

Republicans have an additional problem as a price for being in power for so long, analysts said: many of the members who suddenly have fights on their hands are accustomed to coasting to victory and may not be prepared for what awaits them in the months ahead.

Jimbo campaign has looked sloppy and angry this far in the campaign, I don't think he has what it takes to win a tough campaign.


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