Donald Lambro in the Washington Times today writes:
At a time when voters are in a sour mood and the GOP-run Congress is experiencing its lowest approval polls in years, Republican operatives here have reactivated their ground forces in key battleground states. These campaign workers have been sending in weekly reports on the number of new Republican voters they have identified and registered in strategic toss-up races, using a vast e-mail network linking district, state, regional and national party operations.
Having just spent a few days in the real world, I have to say the outlook is pretty bleak. The wife and I just took the little guy home. I spent several days listening to the thoughts and concerns of people for whom Washington DC represents most of what’s wrong with out country. They’re pissed at the GOP for the way it’s bungling things and pissed at the Democrats for being more concerned about regaining power than they are about actually solving problems.
It’s not a pretty view from the cheap seats.
The good news for the GOP should be the fact that I never heard anyone say the words Iraq or Iran. Unfortunately, that can also be seen as bad news since it indicates domestic issues have replaced security as the cause du jour. The really bad news is immigration was the main topic followed almost immediately by skyrocketing gas prices. The real world, especially in states where median income per month is less than half a DC house payment, is hurting. They’ll be looking for someone to savage, and at the moment, I suspect the GOP is it.
The one saving grace for the party may be, as Lambro says, “Republicans have road-tested and perfected an efficient voter identification and turnout system.” The GOP in 2004, left no doubt that they knew how to get people to the polls. The question this year is whether that machinery will run as smoothly given the sour taste in the electorate’s mouth.
The latest Fox News poll shows the President with a 33% approval. Among Republicans, he’s hovering around 66%, which is not great, but also not horrible. Horrible is his approval among independents – which hovers at just over a quarter. That’s about 18 points lower amongst the GOP and 8 points lower among independents than he was at the height of the Abu Ghraib scandal – the low point during the 2004 election.
As prognosticators like to say, ‘we’re still six months away from the election and a lot can happen in six months.’ That’s certainly true. The president’s approval was in the doldrums in the spring 0f 2004, and the GOP came back to win the election by a solid margin. It could happen again with the midterms. On the other hand, given the bleed amongst the GOP faithful and the loss of a good chunk of independents, it could be a bloodbath come November.
Let’s hope that Duhaime and the gang over at 310 First Street can pull it together as Lambro suggests they might.