Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Not So Fast, Democratic Friends

So, with about $1 million in ads and boots on the ground from the National Republican Senate Committee, Sen. Lincoln Chafee pulls out the primary win. That gives the GOP some reason to breathe, given that Club For Growth-supported candidate Steve Laffey would have been completely slaughtered by Democratic nominee Steve Whitehouse. Chafee still trails in polls, but he has a fighting chance to retain his seat.

Meanwhile, Bush's approval rating, as determined by Rasmussen, is at 45 percent -- his best
numbers since the spring.

Is this just a post-9/11 anniversary bounce?

If so, it is likely to fade quickly in the next few weeks.

However, if, as many have suspected, that a significant factor in Bush's low poll ratings are gas prices, then Democrats may have a serious structural problem on their hands. While not as publicized as the spiraling prices this summer, oil prices have
plunged in recent weeks. Cheaper gas means more take-home pay. More take-home pay gives Americans a more optimistic feeling about the broader economy. That sentiment might make it harder for Democrats to tie in Bush's unpopularity and economic unrest as they mount their challenge to the Republican majority.

Meanwhile, as Chris Clizza points out in his "Winners & Losers" segment in the Washington Post, the GOP still has a potent fastball when it comes to Get Out The Vote operations:

But once again, Republicans showed they know how to turn out the voters they need to win elections. They made nearly 200,000 voter contacts in the final 11 days of the Rhode Island Senate campaign and the state was flooded with staff from around the country. For all the criticism -- much of it spot-on -- that the National Republican Senatorial Committee has received this cycle, the organization deserve major kudos for its work here.
The upshot of all of this?

Don't start penciling in those Democratic names on the committee chairs just yet.

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