Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Give Me Something to Believe In

Krugman links to the above poll and states:

Democrats could yet hold both houses of Congress, if they give voters reasons to believe that they stand for something. If they lose, the fault lies not in their stars, but in themselves.

And this speaks to a greater point that Jonathan Chait taps:

...there's a lot of reason to think some voters have some general desire to vote Republican but plan to vote for the specific Democrat in their district.

This makes a lot of sense given the differing nominating strategies the two parties have pursued. Democrats are obsessed with finding candidates who fit their districts, often recruiting anti-abortion, pro-gun candidates for rural districts. Republicans are increasingly nominating extremely conservative candidates everywhere, following the rising tide of tactical radicalism in the GOP.

It's quite natural, then, that there would be a lot of voters who like Republicans but find their Democrat candidate acceptable, or their Republican candidate unacceptable. In general, the importance of having a candidate who ideologically matches the views of the median voter is wildly overrated. But it's not worth nothing, and this could be a case where the Democrats' fealty to the old belief in representing the center pays dividends around the margin.

Many times in sports you hear post-game interviews where players reflect that "it wasn't so much them, it was us, we killed ourselves." This mid-term election, if it ends as many have predicted with the Democrats ceding the House, will be the fault of the Democratic Party more than anything. People were desperate for change after the eight years Bush had wrought. The Democrats have made small strides in various aspects of our government and society, however it has yet to be the visible tide many expected.

In any case, I am not one to ogle polls or obsess over marginal swings in either direction, but this is the most promising one I have seen of late. The election might be teetering back and forth more than we thought. If only the Democrats would find a strategy that sticks...

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