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July 09, 2010

Carville's Own Polling Firm Finds Republicans Leading Among Likelies By Six on Generic Congressional, 48-42

Remember the rule: if this type of poll shows Republicans a little behind, they're tied. If it shows them tied, they're a little ahead. If it shows them a little ahead, they're solidly ahead.

What happens if the poll shows them solidly ahead?

A solid majority think Obama is too liberal and too much a socialist, too.

Deep in the poll, they ask, “Now, I am going to read you a list of words and phrases which people use to describe political figures. For each word or phrase, please tell me whether it describes Barack Obama very well, well, not too well, or not well at all.”

On “too liberal,” 35 percent of likely voters say it describes Obama “very well,” 21 percent say “well,” 21 percent say “not too well,” and 17 percent say “not well at all.” In other words, 56 percent of likely voters consider Obama too liberal.

When asked about “a socialist,” 33 percent of likely voters say it describes Obama “very well,” 22 percent say “well,” 15 percent say “not too well,” and 25 percent say “not well at all.”

In other words, 55 percent of likely voters think “socialist” is a reasonably accurate way of describing Obama.

The Democrats' response? De-nationalize the race and, actually, drain most of the factual texture out of it to boot, and run on... the misstatements and overstatements of individual Republican candidates.

Democratic strategists want voters to know that House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio sees regulatory reform as a nuclear weapon aimed at the ant of Wall Street's financial misdeeds. That Rep. Joe Barton of Texas wants to apologize to BP rather than hold the oil company accountable for the widening environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. And that Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele believes that a land war in Afghanistan is the last thing the United States should be involved in. In short, Democrats seem to care an awful lot about the Republicans' minor inside-the-Beltway flare-ups that won't get a lot of attention from swing voters.

It's all part of Democrats' effort to make the election about more than their performance. Given President Obama's lousy approval ratings and polls that show a plurality -- if not a majority -- of voters in the mood to kick the bums out, Democrats have to offer voters a choice.

"With history against them and a recession to boot, [Democrats] would be foolish to nationalize the election," party strategist Paul Begala said. "As David Axelrod keeps telling anyone who will listen, this needs to be a choice, not a referendum. Highlighting Boehner's comments about the economy, and Steele's comments about [Afghanistan], and Barton's apology to BP helps make it a choice by showing voters how the GOP would govern -- and whose side they are on."

The trouble is, voters don't much care, especially when the only good news -- that the unemployment rate went down last month -- is followed by the bad news that thousands of Americans gave up looking for work.

Polls show that voters overwhelmingly care about big-picture issues of immediate concern.

Candidates, take note: Your ill-considered comments are all your opponents have. So, like, consider them.

Affiliation Switch: In Maricopa County, AZ, at least, party ID changes favor the conservative side of things.

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posted by Ace at 11:36 AM

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