Target CDs Underscore Troubles Dems Face

By now, nearly everyone knows the national political environment is problematic for Democrats this election cycle. However, an in-depth survey of key swing congressional districts underscores that the opportunities Republicans have to make significant gains in November are even more widespread than conventional wisdom holds.

The survey was conducted for National Public Radio by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQR) and Public Opinion Strategies in 70 swing districts – 30 Tier One Democratic-held districts, 30 Tier Two Dem-held districts, and 10 Republican districts. The survey was conducted June 7-10, 2010 among 1200 likely voters – 445 in the Tier One Dem seats, 445 in the Tier Two Dem seats, and 310 in the Republican seats.

The analysis and opinions in this blog post is solely the views of Glen Bolger, and does not indicate analysis or opinions of neither NPR nor GQR. For the most part, this analysis will combine the results from both the Tier One and Tier Two seats when reporting the data from the Democratic districts.

The political environment is far worse for Democrats in these 60 seats than it is nationally. John McCain won many of these 60 districts. President Obama currently has just a 40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approval rating in these districts, with 54{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapproving. Intensity is two-to-one against him (23{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} strongly approve/45{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} strongly disapproving). He does better in the GOP districts (Obama won those districts) – where he has a 48{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve/48{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove rating.

In incumbent seats, respondents were asked whether they approve/disapprove of their own incumbent – only 40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve of their Dem incumbents, while 38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove, while GOP incumbents earn a much stronger 54{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} approve/32{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove rating.

The incumbent re-elects are very telling about the challenges facing Dems. In the Dem districts, the data were a weak 34{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} re-elect/46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} new person, while the GOP incumbents earned a 49{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} re-elect/37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} new person score – a net 24 points better than their troubled Dem counterparts.

The named ballot puts the exclamation point on the opportunities Republicans have this year. In the Dem districts, the GOP candidates lead 47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}, and they are up 53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in the GOP districts. (Note – in open seat districts, it was tested as party labels – Republican candidate vs. Democratic candidate.)

The demographic subgroups are lining up our way in the Dem districts:

  • Independents break 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} GOP/29{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Dem overall.
  • Independent men are voting 53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} GOP/28{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Dem, while Independent women are voting 46{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} GOP/31{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Dem.
  • Men overall break 51{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} GOP, while women are evenly divided (45{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} GOP/44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Dem).
  • The enthusiasm all breaks the GOP’s way – among 8-10s the GOP candidates lead 53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}.
  • Seniors break 49{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in our favor.
  • Regionally, the GOP leads 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-40{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in competitive Northeastern seats, trails 42{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in the Central region, leads 47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in the South (56{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} with white Southerners), and 53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}-39{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in the West.
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