Sunday, March 22, 2009

GOP Threatens Early Rally in the Northeast while Obama’s Strongly Approves Remain Stagnant at 35%

New York’s 20th Congressional District has made quite a few headlines lately - over a special election to replace Kirstin Gillibrand, Clinton’s Senate replacement on March 31. The general consensus is that as the district trended Democrat in the last two elections (2006 & 2008), therefore, a Republican would have difficult time obtaining the seat. Additionally, some media analysts note that pressure is being placed on GOP Chair, Michael Steele to deliver the seat.
Firstly, Kristen Gillibrand obtained the seat by running as a more-than-moderate gun-toting, fiscally conservative Democrat against a Republican, John Sweeney, who battled last minute reports of scandalous domestic violence. Once Ms. Gillibrand ascended to the Senate, however, she changed her stance on gun-control and voted for the unpopular Stimulus package. The choice for the 20th congressional district at that time was either a moderate-Republican leaning Democrat or a scandalized Republican. Secondly, Times have changed, but the 20th voter make-up remains fairly conssitant, as of November 2008 - Republicans maintained over 196,000 registered Republicans to the approximately 125,000 registered 20th congressional Democrats.

The Upstate New York Press sheds some light on this particular race – with the Poughkeepsie Journal endorsing Republican Tedisco and the Daily Oneonta Star defends Tedisco and closes the article by reminding readers that the 20th has sent one Democrat to the House – Gillibrand. Additionally, the AIG bonus fiasco is becoming a factor, with Tedisco calling for the resignation of Treasury Secretary Geithner (Schenectady Daily Gazette) - sure to appeal to fiscal conservatives as well as moderate democrats in the district.

The AIG Scandal is also affecting CT Senator Chris Dodd – The Nutmeg State’s leading paper, The Hartford Courant, lead web story Sunday shouts: ”GOP's Simmons Positions Himself As The Anti-Dodd”. The article praises Simmons, while listing Dodd’s less noteworthy accomplishments: the move of his family to Iowa during his failed run for the Democrat Presidential Primary, ownership in a cottage in Ireland, a questionable refinancing of two of his mortgages, and most recently, his role in the AIG bonus brouhaha. It is a bit early to count Dodd out, according to the Courant, “National Democratic operatives figure there's still mileage left in a strategy that links Simmons to President Bush, an approach that worked for them in 2006.”

The DNC strategy of linking Republican’s (or any candidate for that matter) to President George W. Bush, may not be the best decision, considering the current “highly approve” rating enjoyed by President Barack Obama has sunk to 35% in Rasmussen’s Daily Tracking Poll for Sunday, March 22, 2009 The Wall Street Journal’s recent analysis of Obama’s current poll numbers, indicate that he is less popular than George Bush was given the same period of time in office. Should the trend continue into 2009, any politician affiliated with the sitting President may enjoy a similar experience to those suffered by his/her Republican counterparts in 2006 and 2008.

Map of 2010 Races - Republican Governors Association

There are 39 Gubernatorial Races in 2009 and 2010, of those, 11 are held by Democrat Incumbents (states to watch, MA and VA), all House of Representatives seats are up for grabs (expect Barney Frank (D-MA) to face a Challnger), and 36 Senate Seats are in play including Dodd, Reid, Burris, and Feingold, some of whom are considered “safe”. With history generally ruling out, Obama may end up facing two houses similar to Clinton’s – a Senate and House run by Republicans. The Northeast, once gain, may lead by firing the “shot heard round the world”.

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