January 20, 2010

DATE: JANUARY 20, 2010


The political tide is rising outside of the Bay State. The results in Massachusetts sent a message to the Washington establishment, but the recent spate of polls in states like Ohio, Michigan, and Arkansas should send shivers down the spines of Democrats in swing congressional districts across the country. If Democrats can’t sell their radical message of government takeovers and higher taxes in the bluest state in the country, they can’t sell it anywhere. Last night, Bay State voters turned out to send a message to President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and the rest of their Washington allies that enough is enough.


This message resonates not only in Massachusetts, but throughout the country, and the consequences are clear: Vulnerable Democrats who continue to back their party’s reckless healthcare push will make the Massachusetts special election look like a walk in the park. The combination of political backlash within their own ranks, a poor environment, and an unpopular agenda means that Democrat leaders are now on the precipice of presiding over an ungovernable majority.


As Democrats continue to point fingers for their embarrassing electoral defeats, the real culprit is the agenda that they are unable to sell to the American people. With Republicans motivated, independents fleeing to the GOP, and once-reliable liberals now disaffected, Democrats are unable to piece together victories – even in states where they once came easily.



As the majority continues to legislate itself into political peril, rank-and-file members are feeling the heat back home and responding in kind.

  • Snyder Down 17 to GOP Challenger Before Calling it Quits (AR-02): “Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) is one of the most endangered Democratic members of the House, with a new poll highlighting his perilous political situation. The SurveyUSA poll, commissioned by the liberal blog Firedoglake, shows Snyder badly trailing Republican Tim Griffin by 17 points, 56 to 39 percent. President Obama sports dismal approval ratings with the Little Rock district, with only 33 percent approving and 63 percent disapproving. It’s a change of fortune for the seven-term congressman, who didn’t even face any Republican opposition in 2008, his last election.” (Josh Kraushaar, “Vic Snyder: Most Endangered House Democrat?,” Politico, 1/15/10)
    • “2010 will be a robust election year during which great forces collide to set the direction for our country for another two years… I have concluded that these election-year forces are no match for the persuasive and powerful attraction of our three one-year old boys under the leadership of their three-year old brother, and I have decided not to run for re-election.” (Snyder Press Release, 1/15/10)
  • ‘Reliable’ Dem Driehaus Getting Trounced, Down 17 (OH-01): “Another day, another SurveyUSA poll showing a Democratic member of the House down 17 points to his Republican challenger…This time, the latest SurveyUSA poll shows Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio), a freshman Democrat who represents the Cincinnati area, losing to former Republican congressman Steve Chabot, 56 to 39 percent…An anti-abortion Democrat who called himself a “raging moderate” in his 2008 election, Driehaus has been a reliable backer of party leadership.” (Josh Kraushaar, “Poll: Driehaus Chabot by 17 Points,” Politico, 1/16/10)
  • Schauer Faces Nine-Point Deficit (MI-07): “Another poll; another Democratic incumbent down big… The National Research Inc. poll, conducted for former Rep. Tim Walberg’s (R-Mich.) campaign, has Walberg leading Schauer 46-37, and 50-40 with ‘leaners.’… President Obama is at 48 percent approval in the district, with 48 percent disapproving.” (Aaron Blake, “Schauer Is Latest Dem to Trail in Early Poll,” The Hill, 1/18/10)
  • Gordon Down Three, Responds by Retiring (TN-06): “Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) didn’t mention his political predicament in his retirement announcement, but Republican polling in his middle Tennessee district showed that he would have faced one of the toughest races in his career if he stuck around…[Republican State Senator Jim] Tracy led Gordon in the poll by three points, 44 to 41 percent. The poll also found that 49 percent ‘thought it was time to give a new person a chance,’ with only 37 percent saying that Gordon performed his job well enough to deserve reelection.” (Josh Kraushaar, “Poll: Gordon Trailed GOP Opponent by 3 Before Retiring,” Politico, 12/14/09)
  • Early Returns Show Weak Titus Tied at 40 Percent (NV-03): “[Dr. Joe] Heck, a Henderson physician who never topped 1 percent in the polls during a brief gubernatorial campaign, is tied at 40 percent with incumbent Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., in the race to represent Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District. That’s according to a new survey conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc… Heck campaign manager Grant Hewitt said it shows his candidate benefits from an anti-incumbent sentiment among voters. ‘As the economy is continuing to fall, these aren’t shocking numbers to us,’ Hewitt said.” (Benjamin Spillman, “3rd Congressional District: Poll Shows Incumbent Faces Test,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 12/6/09)
  • Kratovil Down 14 to GOP Challenger (MD-01): “Rep. Frank Kratovil (Maryland) would be one of the first Democrats to go if Republicans make significant gains during mid-term elections, and a new poll shows he has reason for concern. The Tarrance Group poll, which was conducted for state Sen. Andy Harris’s (R) campaign and obtained by The Hill, shows Harris taking a 52-39 lead in a rematch of his 2008 contest with Kratovil. To members in districts that went heavily for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the presidential race, the poll should serve as notice that the political environment can have localized consequences.” (Aaron Blake, “Poll: Dem Freshman Kratovil Down Double Digits in Rematch with Harris,” The Hill, 11/20/09)
  • Republicans Capture Generic Ballot Leads Across the Board: “The polling so far for red district Democrats has been uniformly atrocious… If you look at the RCP average, you see a sea of red markings showing Republicans leading the generic ballot test. It isn’t just Rasmussen Reports: CNN, Battleground, Bloomberg, and Gallup have all measured the GOP ahead in the generic ballot in the past few months.” (Sean Trende, “The House Is Very Much In Play,” Real Clear Politics, 1/19/2010)


Feeling the backlash from their Massachusetts debacle, Democrats are ready to crumble as they see the most striking public pushback yet to their agenda.

  • Democrats Ready to ‘Crumble’ as Consequences Become Clear: “As we enter the through-the-looking glass world of a Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), House Democrats will hold a highly consequential caucus meeting to discuss the unpalatable set of options for threading the needle on heath care reform without a filibuster-proof Senate majority. But the bottom line is this, aides close the situation say: Despite talk about how the White House wants to ram the measure through, resolve among terrified Democrats will likely crack if not crumble, even if Coakley somehow  manages to pull out a win.” (Glenn Thrush, “Dems May Flee Scene of Health Care Crime,” Politico, 1/19/10)
  • Massachusetts Is the Rule, Not the Exception: “‘Even in liberal Massachusetts, most voters are opposed to it,’ said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, a Democratic pollster in Raleigh, N.C., who has conducted polls in that state and others on health care. ‘If it’s not popular in Massachusetts, it’s really not popular anywhere.’” (Janet Adamy & Naftali Bendavid, “Massachusetts Race Now Key to Health Care Bill,” Wall Street Journal, 1/18/10)
  • Deals Fall Apart as Rank-and-File Get Wake-Up Call “Some Democrats said Monday that the methods proposed for pushing through a health bill if they lost a Senate contest in Massachusetts were unlikely to work, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office signaling the House wouldn’t adopt the version already passed in the Senate. A defeat in Massachusetts would not only deprive Democrats of their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate but also underscore the unpopularity of the health legislation and possibly lead some wavering party members to reverse their support.” (Janet Adamy & Naftali Bendavid, “Massachusetts Race Now Key to Health Care Bill,” Wall Street Journal, 1/18/10)



It’s no accident that Democrats are under heavy fire. As they continue to push an agenda that is overwhelmingly unpopular with voters and taxpayers, we can expect the Massachusetts scenario to play out across the country – as it did in both New Jersey and Virginia just a few short months ago. With independents fleeing from a majority that is only focused on spending, borrowing, and taxing, Democrats no longer have the political capital to force through their toxic agenda. With the electoral map shifting so rapidly that the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat is now in the hands of Republicans, it’s clear that the Obama-Pelosi spending spree is a loser with the American people.