The Progressive Movement and The Looming Pennsylvania Landslides

For a challenger, Casey's lead was actually already quite large, but this is ridiculous:Santorum now trails Democratic challenger Bob Casey 56% to 33% (see crosstabs). Our latest survey of the governor's race also brings good news for the Democrat in that contest.

Last month, Santorum trailed by thirteen percentage points. The incumbent began 2006 down by 20 points and closed to within single digits by March. That was before the Primary Election solidified Casey's position as the Democratic nominee.

Santorum continues to flounder with his base, attracting support from only 67% of GOP voters. Casey now attracts 87% of Democrats, a ten-point gain since our April 20 poll. My repeated assertions that Santorum had basically no chance in this race have resulted in criticisms, both public and private, from a wide variety of Pennsylvania Democrats. Some warn of overconfidence, some warn that progressives will stay home, some warn that Santorum has loads of money, some warn that the Pennsylvania Republican base remains strong, and on and on and on. However, all of those warning and tortured attempts to try and make this race look competitive aside, I think it is time for everyone who is watching this race to look at the numbers and appreciate what is actually happening here. We now have a Republican polling firm showing the race at 56-33in favor of Casey. If an incumbent was leading any campaign 56-33, s/he would be considered safe by every election analyst in the nation. However, that isn't even how bad things are for Santorum. For a challenger to be leading 56-33 is unprecedented. Remember that undecideds tend to break overwhelmingly for the challenger. I have never seen anything like this. Not only is this the best poll for a challenger I have ever seen, nothing else I have ever seen is even remotely close to this. Santorum has a 90% name ID statewide, and only 33% of the state wants to vote for him.

The situation for Pennsylvania Republicans is rapidly collapsing statewide. The residency issue has clearly become a major problem for Santorum. Two weeks ago, in a major conservative stronghold, Democrats won a special election for the Pennsylvania state Senate by 13%. Also on the May 16th primary, Democratic turnout was over 30% higher than Republican turnout.. Rendell has moved form being the primary Republican target among Governors in 2006 to becoming a pretty safe incumbent. Lois Murphy in PA-06, Joe Sestak in PA-07, and Patrick Murphy in PA-08 have all become serious challengers to Republican held congressional seats in districts that Kerry won in 2004. Bush's approval rating in Pennsylvania has sunk to an astounding 28-70.

Pennsylvania is considered a "blue state" in popular electoral parlance, but in truth it has been red for some time. Republicans control both branches of the state legislature, have a 12-7 edge in congressional seats, and have won every full-term US Senate election since 1964. These advantages in ostensibly "blue" Pennsylvania have been absolutely crucial to Republicans maintaining their national governing coalition. However, even as a Republican activist purchases our local papers in Philadelphia, Republican dominance of Pennsylvania politics, fueled in part by longstanding Pennsylvania Democratic incompetence, seems poised to end. If the NRCC has been forced to spend nearly $4M to defend the CA-50, what can they possibly muster to the face of the coming Pennsylvania onslaught?

At the center of the transformation of Pennsylvania politics has been an extremely vibrant, emerging progressive movement statewide. For those of you who still believe that fighting internal Democratic battles is somehow a waste of progressive resources, you need to look no further than to Pennsylvania for counter-evidence. While the newly revitalized progressive movement in Pennsylvania has locked horns with the party establishment, the result has not been drained resources and two separate, warring factions. Instead, the result has been a tremendous upswing in pro-Democratic Party activity in Pennsylvania that has benefited both the new progressive movement and the party establishment. Our new progressive movement is working--the old ways of either simply falling in line behind the party leaders or bolting the party / sitting on your hands were not working. The progressive, internal reform movement has identified hundreds of new activists, resulted in a tremendous fundraising upswing, created new progressive media outlets, started new grassroots organizations, and forged new progressive social networking spaces. This is how you do it. This is how a progressive movement can win back Pennsylvania, and indeed the entire nation.

Polls Polls Polls....

Three polls came out today on Senate races.

The first is the Pennslyvania Senate race from Rasmussen:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2006/Sta te%20Polls/April%202006/Pennsylvania%20S enate%20April.htm

Casey (D) 51%
Santourm (R) 38%

NJ Sen: Taken from Q-Pac. (no link yet.)

Menedez (D) 40%
Kean Jr. (R) 34%

and RI from Rhode Island College: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/4/27/ 145228/370

Chafee (R) 51%
Whitehouse (D) 32%
Undecided 17%

Whitehouse (D) 50%
Laffey (R) 27%

Republican Primary:

Chafee (R) 56%
Laffey (R) 28%

There's more...

Pennsylvania leadership urges Pennsylvania activists to hold their noses...

...and vote for Santorum. Quite the battle of idealists we have going on here in Pennsylvania. Check out this from the co-chair of the Pennsylvania state Republican committee:In the course of a one-minute speech delivered recently at the Abington Township Rockledge Boro Republican Organization Annual Dinner this past Friday, Renee Amoore, co-chair of the state GOP committee, stated:"...Regarding Santorum, I know some of you may want to just hold your noses, but please vote for him anyway!" MontCo, in suburban Philly, is the second largest county in the state, and has the most registered Republicans, by far, of any other county in the state. The PA-06, PA-07, and PA-08 all include part of MontCo.

With statements like this, it is no wonder that the Philadelphia suburbs are full of RINOs who are now ripe targets for Democrats. The leadership message to activists is to just "hold your nose" and vote? Amazing, absolutely amazing, that the leadership of any party would ever treat their activists like that. I am stunned.

Why Bob Casey will lose

(cross-posted at Booman Tribune)

I'm sure many of you may disagree with the premise of my diary - after all, several polls still show Casey with double-digit leads over Rick Santorum, such as Quinnipiac's latest poll. However, Matt Stoller's analysis of the latest Rasmussen poll may give us some cause for concern.

My reasons, though, for Bob Casey's defeat in November 2006 have more to do with the impression I got of his campaign when a senior staffer visited the 27th Ward Committee meeting last night. I had decided to attend to get a feel for the local politics of the area, and although I couldn't stay for the whole time (I missed Valerie McDonald-Roberts, who spoke shortly after I left), I did get to listen to the pitch for Bob Casey. One would expect to be more inspired after learning more about a candidate, but after this one, I was less inspired and less inclined to donate any time to the Casey campaign.

There's more...

Michelman Drops Potential Indie Bid in PA-Sen

Last week, rumors began to swirl surrounding the possibility that long time pro-choice activist Kate Michelman would enter the Pennsylvania Senate race as an independent, potentially making Democrat Bob Casey's challenge to GOP Sen. Rick Santorum more difficult. But as Benjamin Y. Lowe reports for The Philadelphia Enquirer, a Michelman candidacy is not to be.

Abortion-rights activist Kate Michelman won't run in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race.

Despite pressure from abortion-rights supporters, the former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said she would not be an independent candidate in the November election, which will likely feature two candidates who oppose abortion: Democrat Bob Casey Jr. and incumbent Republican Rick Santorum.

"Despite profound and fundamental differences, I have decided that Pennsylvania will be better served by electing Bob Casey to the U.S. Senate than giving his opponent another term," Michelman wrote in an op-ed to be published in The Inquirer on Sunday. "I do this knowing that I may forever regret not responding one more time to the clarion call of principle."

Bob Casey is not the most exciting Democratic Senate candidate in the country this year, nor is he the most progressive, but at this point, a Democratic victory in Pennsylvania is necessary for the party to have any shot at retaking the Senate in November.

In order for the Senate intelligence panel to open real investigations into the White House's case to go to war in Iraq or the Bush administration's domestic wiretapping program, Casey pretty much needs to win this fall. If the Senate Budget Committee is going to refrain from making cuts to essential programs like foodstamps and Medicare, it's almost necessary that Casey defeats Santorum. If Senate Democrats are to have the ability to vote down extreme conservatives to the federal bench, Casey almost certainly needs to win. (Even if Casey does not support such tactics, a Democratic Senate -- and thus a Democratic Judiciary Committee -- could ensure that extremist nominees never see the light of day.)

Would Kate Michelman have added to the race? Would she have made a good Senator? The answer to both of these questions is probably yes. Nevertheless, in the interest of increasing the likelihood that the Democrats win back the United States Senate in November, it's good to see that she will not make an independent bid and help split the Democratic vote against Rick Santorum, thus helpind deliver the Senate Republican Conference Chairman another six years in Washington.

There's more...

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