Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sabato: Macrowave or Microwave?

This is a very interesting piece by UVA political scientist and analyst Larry Sabato (whom you should go see speak if you ever have a chance - he's very entertaining).

He says that Democrats are having a hard time putting together a 'big wave' to take out the Republican majority for a variety of reasons, but notably because the issues of Iraq, ethics, and immigration are important in places that they can't influence, and because they've been unable to craft a 'national narrative' on these issues:

The Crystal Ball has observed something remarkable taking shape: a unique split decision. Democrats have succeeded in placing national issues of great consequence front and center in individual races for the House, but they have thus far failed to establish a truly national narrative to frame the battles in each of their targeted districts within a single, compelling context. Iraq has dominated neck-and-neck horse races in districts such as Connecticut's 4th and Pennsylvania's 7th, but ethics has (rightfully) trumped other contests in districts that have grown to know congressional scandal all too well, such as California's 50th and Ohio's 18th. Immigration has dominated still more campaigns, especially where districts are in close proximity to borders (again, CA-50, among others).

This variegation of the 2006 issue landscape complicates Democratic efforts a great deal. But there is little the party out of power can do in this respect--the diversity of competitive districts and candidates greatly reduces the party's ability to craft anything close to a simple, powerful banner under which all of its candidates could run. Yes, generic congressional ballot tests indicate startling weakness for the GOP, but Republicans can take heart in the difficulty of their opponents' challenge. For all of the GOP's very serious woes, the Democratic search for a national message and an electoral wave seems unlikely to produce anything quite as potent as the "Contract with America" and the tsunami of twelve years ago.

This seems to be an argument against a Democratic version of the 'Contract With America.' It would rely on individual candidates to frame their races better - something that Francine Busby could not do, but other Democrats might be better at. It also leaves the Democrats with a national 'meta-message' more like 'haven't you had enough?'

Read the whole thing. It's interesting, and not really all that encouraging for the GOP.

Update: Welcome KausFiles readers... I think. Let me know in the comments section whether Mickey's right and I'm wrong. And while you're here, feel free to look around - or see why on immigration, the House GOP and John McCain have decisions to make.

Back to the top.


Stan said...

Polling done in our present news environment contains a serious flaw for anyone trying to predict what could happen in November. News reporting has been so overwhelmingly slanted against Bush and the GOP that voters lack any accurate information (e.g. huge percentage that think the economy is in rescession!, Iraq, etc.)

In the fall campaign, some of that massive misinformation will be corrected. Truth tends to change electoral dynamics. This is a regular feature of elections over the last few cycles with the GOP always performing better on election day than predicted 6 months out, and the news slant is particularly egregious this time.

The reason Dems can't figure out what to say about the war is because they know very well that the poll numbers on Iraq are bogus. They know that voters aren't going to vote in November the way polls seem to indicate right now.

Another example of how a partisan MSM sometimes sets up the Dems to screw up. Any Dem politician who believes the news he reads in the paper or sees on TV is falling into a trap.

Anonymous said...

There wont be a 'big wave' election, and Dems can make a market 'contract' type campaign, because voters dont agree with Democrats' solutions/non-solutions. Cut-n-run from Iraq? Spend *more* money on New Orleans, after stories of $1 billion plus spend on fluff? Amnesty for 10 million illegal immigrants? A 'kinder gentler' Gitmo? or is the party of Rep Jefferson ($90,000 in bribe money found in his freezer) going to run against 'corruption', while multiple members from the Dem side are mired in corruption scandals - the only difference seeming to be the Republican members slink off in shame while the Democrats shamelessly beg to stay on House committees.

Nope, it's incoherent.

I came via Kaus, and he's been on top of the immigration story. he mentions the dems smelling fear. The Dems would love to get Bush to sign amnesty-type immigration bill, what they fear iswalking the plank to be for amnesty and against border security and then finding the GOP on the other side of the issue and 'demagogueing' to the American people who are 70-80% against illegal immigration and want it stopped , not encouraged.

... yet, that is what their votes in the Senate and House have been!
Has the media informed people of this? No!
Has the President? No, he's playing footsie with Sen Reid on the issue.

But GOP Congresscritters in tight race surely won't let the issue rest, if they need it to survive.

The Dems are the position of a weak team who's ahead because the other team fumbled (Dubai ports, immigration/Bush-plan which his own base dislikes, etc). The Dems will end up sitting on the ball, the GOP will recover enough (thanks to exposing the Dems of being hollow whiners, like they did in the Iraq debate) by November so any big move fizzles. JMHO.

The Demos wont have a majority next year because they dont deserve it.

Anonymous said...