Democracy Corps just released a major study of 49 House districts currently held by Republicans. The Ryun-Boyda race is not yet in the top 49 races, but pollster Stan Greenberg and strategist James Carville are thinking that Democrats need to challenge more than just those 49. Stan Greenberg says that “there’ve got to be seats beyond these 49,” most of which are in a band from Connecticut to Indiana. The Democratic challenger has a 2 point advantage over the incumbent in the bottom tier of races, the ones that the pollsters considered a stretch originally.
Especially interesting is the comparison between what the poll found about public attitudes in districts like the Kansas 2 compared to excerpts from Dick Cheney’s speech in support of Jim Ryun:
“One of the most important issues on Nov. 7 is taxes — and when Americans go to the polls, they’re going to have the clearest possible choice,” Cheney said in Kansas. “If the Democrats take control, American families could face an immense tax increase, and the economy would sustain a major hit.”
In Republican-held districts, Democrats are more trusted on taxes, and voters in those districts consider taxes less important than (in order of importance): Iraq, jobs/economy, terrorism, Medicare/Social Security, or health insurance. And 54% of voters in these Republican districts are more worried that Republicans will retain control of Congress and do nothing about health care and gas prices than they are about Democrats winning and raising taxes.
“The key question before the voters on Nov. 7 is whether or not this nation is serious about fighting the global war on terror,” Cheney said.
Indeed. And in Republican-held districts, Democrats are trusted more on Iraq, 45% to 39%.
“Time and time again, we’re seeing examples of Democratic Party leaders apparently having lost their perspective concerning the nature of the enemy we face, he told his supporters.
In Republican-held districts, voters are more inclined to think “The Iraq war has made us LESS secure.” Only 42% think it’s made us more secure. Fifty-six percent think we are losing ground in Iraq. A plurality of voters in these districts think the North Korean nuclear test indicates that “Bush and the Republicans in Congress have focused too much on Iraq and too little on more serious and lasting security challenges.” These voters are divided over whether troop levels in Iraq should be drawn down.
In describing the results, Stan Greenberg said that he has to keep reminding himself that these are Republican districts. It represents a “meltdown in support,” and Carville claims he hasn’t seen anything like this in his time in politics, not even ’94. According to Greenberg “there is now a new playing field.”
But Cheney doesn’t see that. So he’s out trying to play on the old field, shoring up support among his partisans while the people who decide elections are seeing things in new ways.
The release of a book showing that “President Bush’s top political advisors privately ridiculed evangelical supporters as ‘nuts’ and ‘goofy’ while embracing them in public and using their votes to help win elections” won’t help either.
Help Boyda overcome the $200,000 Dick Cheney raised for Jim Ryun. Turn Kansas blue.