A new Washington Post/ABC News
shows that 51% of the interviewees think that the economy is in poor shape with another 39% saying it is in not-so-good
shape. Only 10% say it is in excellent or good shape. The number saying it is in poor shape has increased by 13%
in the past two months, the steepest two-month drop in confidence since this poll began 20 years ago. If the country is in
recession in November, the election may be fought on traditional bread-and-butter issues, with the Democrat
promising a larger government role in the economy to create jobs and John McCain offering tax cuts to encourage
companies to create more jobs. But that is going to be a tough sell for McCain if people want action now.
The same poll also showed that six out of 10 people reject the notion that U.S. has to win in Iraq in order
to defeat terrorism worldwide. Again, this is not going to help McCain who has repeatedly said that we must
win in Iraq. If most Americans think we are just refereeing a civil war there and don't care who wins, his argument
that we should stay there 100 years (as we have been in Japan for 60 years) is going to harder and harder to sell.
Real issues like the economy and Iraq are far more important that whether Obama thinks people are bitter or
Hillary fudged a bit about snipers in Bosnia. Come November the economy and Iraq will still be on everyone's minds
and the news manufacturerd by blowing some stupid comment way out of proportion will be long forgotten.
Real political junkies are paying a lot of attention to two upcoming special elections
for vacant House seats in the South. In LA-06, which was vacated by Richard Baker (R) to take a
$1 million job with a hedge fund, Democratic state house member Don Cazayoux is facing off against
Republican newspaper publisher Woody Jenkins on May 3. Since the district has a PVI of R+7, Jenkins
should be able to win it easily. However, Cazayoux just released a poll showing him ahead 49% to 42%.
Jenkins did not release any competing polls of his own. However, the DCCC has already spent $270,000
in the district, more than double what the NRCC has spent there. The difference is that the DCCC has
about $38 million in the bank vs. the NRCC's about $5 million. This race puts NRCC chairman Tom Cole (R-OK)
in a real bind: try to match the Democrats in a district that Bush carried by a wide margin twice
or hoard your pennies for later races. But losing a strong Republican district on a day with no other
news scheduled (especially after the loss in IL-14) is going to be very demoralizing to Republican
House members. It is expected that DCCC chairman Chris van Hollen (D-MD) is going to keep pouring
money into this race to force Cole to either ante up or fold.
Here is more information about LA-06.
Even more surprising is the special election race in MS-01
to fill the seat Roger Wicker occupied before being apppointed to the Senate to fill Trent Lott's seat.
MS-01 runs along the top of the state and is R+10. This should be easy of the GOP to hold,
The election is April 22, and if no candidate achieves 50%, there will be runoff on May 13 between the top two.
The main Democrat is Travis Childers, the chancery clerk of Prentiss County. The main Republican is Southaven
mayor Greg Davis. The NRCC is starting to spend money here, which means they have to be at least a bit worried.
So far the DCCC hasn't jumped in, but an internal Democratic poll shows the race to be a statistical tie,
so Van Hollen may dump some money here to force Cole to respond.
Special elections like these are often bellwethers for what is going to happen later in the year.
In the debate this week, Hillary Clinton made the point that if Barack Obama can't stand up to her
relatively mild attacks, how is he going to manage when the Republicans start going after him? Certainly a
valid point. The flip side of the coin is what are the Democrats going to throw at McCain? For a sneak
preview, take a look a www.youngerthanmccain.com
with its funny video pointing out that McCain is older than the Golden Gate Bridge, Coke in cans, FM radio, and quite a
few other things.
It is clearly designed to impress young people with the point that McCain is a throwback to a long-gone era.
If Obama is the Democratic nominee, could some Republicans make a similar funny video
pointing out his callow youth?
Here are the delegate totals from various news sources rounded to integers.
If you have been watching these scores day by day you probably have noticed a slow but steady
movement towards Obama. Almost every other day another superdelegate announces for him.
A month ago, the average of these seven sources showed Obama with a lead of 127 delegates.
Today that lead is 145 delegates, a net gain of 18 in a month.
As discussed here
Tuesday, if Hillary
Clinton has a good day next week in the Pennsylvania primary, she would be very lucky to pick up
20 delegates, which would put her back even where she was a month ago. While the drip-drip-drip
of delegate announcements every few days doesn't make much news, Obama is gradually building a
lead that is going to be hard to surpass, in large part due to the delegate allocation rules the
Democrats use. Even with a really solid win in Pennsylvania, Clinton won't pick up that many delegates.
The NY Times has a
about how the Wright flap, bittergate, and the debate hasn't convinced very many superdelegates to announce
for Clinton. In fact, the reverse is true as noted above.