Friday, June 30, 2006

Great News for GOP (If True)

Taegan Goddard's Political Wire reports on a new poll that shows a sudden and dramatic improvement in the all important 'right track/wrong track' question. This question is key because if voters think that at a basic level, things are off 'on the wrong track,' they tend to vote for change. If they're on the right track, they tend to vote to stay the course.

The release is here.

I would take this with a healthy grain of salt. The bipartisan poll analysis - apparently provided by Ed Reilly (D) and Ed Rollins (R) - specifically states that the improvement in right track/wrong track is due to a rallying of the conservative base. I'm not sure what might have occurred in the last month to cause it - conservatives lately have grumbled about immigration, but might have heard some things they like in the talk about the line-item veto. Is there something big I'm missing? Also, this is only one poll. While other polls have been improving in the past month, I wouldn't get excited until I see this result borne out.

Those caveats notwithstanding, the poll notes that people think things are going well in the local area, with improvement among Independents. These are both very positive signs for the GOP.

First off, a lot of poll-watchers have lately been saying that the President's numbers and the national mood seem to be 'stuck' for the long-term; that people had made up their minds about Bush and Iraq, and might have tuned out any new developments that could shake their views. If this is wrong - and the national 'angst' over Iraq and other issues is starting to lift - people seem to be optimistic.

And the improvement among Independents (a reduction in the Democratic advantage on the congressional ballot from 12 percentage points to just 4) is key because well, Independents tend to be the swing voters. If conservatives and liberal come out to vote in equal numbers, and Independents vote decisively for Democrats - as polls have seemed to show them doing - there will be a Democratic wave. If Republicans can fight to a tie among Independents, their majorities should survive.

While there's definitely a chance that Nancy Pelosi will be measuring the Speaker's office for curtains in December, there's been a lot of news lately to make Democrats worry that they're blowing their best shot in years at control in Congress.

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