Stand and Deliver
by Charles Lemos, Tue Jul 20, 2010 at 04:33:14 AM EDT
The premise is simple. Good governance is rewarded. Stand for something and deliver public goods and you'll earn points with voters. In this case, passing a major financial reform bill has earned the Democrats a six point lead on a generic ballot in the latest Gallup poll. The reversal in Democratic fortunes is primarily due to winning back independent voters.
The Democrats' six-point advantage in Gallup Daily interviewing from July 12-18 represents the first statistically significant lead for that party's candidates since Gallup began weekly tracking of this measure in March.
Whether the Democrats' edge is sustainable remains to be seen. Republicans held a four-point or better lead over Democrats in three Gallup weekly averages thus far this year, but in each case, the gap narrowed or collapsed to a tie the following week.
With Republicans' and Democrats' support for their own party's candidates holding steady in the low 90s this past week, independents are primarily responsible for Democrats' improved positioning. Thirty-nine percent of independents favor the Democratic candidate in their district, up from 34% -- although slightly more, 43%, still favor the Republican.
However, an enthusiasm gap still remains. Gallup reports that 51 percent of Republicans are saying they are "very enthusiastic" about voting this fall is up from 40 percent the prior week. The 51 percent marks the highest level since April. On the other hand, Democratic enthusiasm remains mired at 28 percent.
In other polling news, Public Policy Polling is set to release their latest poll of the Nevada Senate race. The PPP poll is likely to show Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with a comfortable lead over the Tea Party darling Sharron Angle. The problem for Angle is that she is seen as the extremist that she is among moderate independent voters.
Sharron Angle is getting 9% with liberals and 80% with conservatives, down just slightly from the 12% and 82% Lowden was getting with those groups. But where Lowden trailed Reid only 51-41 with moderate voters, Angle is facing a 64-28 deficit. The price of nominating Angle for Nevada Republicans appears to be 26 points with moderate voters.
We asked poll respondents whether they considered Angle's views to be 'mainstream' or 'extremist.' 68% of moderates put Angle in the 'extremist' category to just 22% who called her 'mainstream.' That goes a long way toward explaining the drastically changed state of this race.
Neither Senator Reid nor the Democrats are out of the woods as yet and much work needs to be done to re-energize the base, if not re-assemble the tattered Obama coalition but continued progress on economic issues and calling the Republicans out on their obstructionism and come the Fall we may have the November surprise that Vice President Biden is predicting. At the very least, the odds of retaining both houses of Congress are improving.