99 seats held by Democrats are in play

As Democrats come off a bad weekend, Politico reports that 99 House seats currently held by the majority party are in play:

[T]he nonpartisan Cook Political Report predicts a GOP net gain of at least 40 House seats, with 90 Democratic seats in total rated as competitive or likely Republican.

“When Chairman [Pete] Sessions and Leader [John] Boehner said that 100 House seats were in play, Democrats scoffed,” said Ken Spain, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s communications director. “Today, they aren’t laughing anymore.”

The number of Democrats in danger is more than double the 39 seats Republicans need to seize control of the House. It reflects an elastic electoral environment that favors the GOP by every measure: money, momentum and mood of the country — in this case, sour on Democratic incumbents.

As Sean Trende noted on Monday over at Real Clear Politics, Democrats are essentially facing a worst case scenerio:

[T]he worst news for Democrats is the actual ballot test. In the Tossup/Leans R/Likely R districts, Republicans are leading the Democrats 48 percent to 44 percent. Moreover, in the districts that Charlie Cook presently has leaning toward the Democrats, the Democrats are tied with Republicans.

Economy lost 95,000 jobs in September

While the unemployment rate didn’t change from last month, despite Gallup’s estimate, new unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the economy shed 95,000 jobs in September and the broader measure of unemployment jumped to 17.1% from 16.7% last month.

According to the Associated Press, unemployment has been over 9.5% for 14 consecutive months, the longest stretch since the Great Depression.

The implications of this are bad Democrats:

The die is cast, and it’s grim news for the Democrats. There’s nothing now that Congress or President Barack Obama can do to before the November midterm elections to jolt the nation’s stagnant economy.

Friday’s government report — the last major economic news before the midterm elections — showed the nation continued to lose jobs last month, reinforcing the bleak reality that it probably will be years — not months — before employment returns to pre-recession levels below 6 percent.

That tightens the pressure on Democrats ahead of the Nov. 2 elections. And it also casts a dark shadow well into the 2012 election season and beyond.

As noted by Gallup, numbers released this morning may understate the number of unemployed in the release from the BLS this morning.

Unemployment picture for September is bleak

See updated post above for new jobless numbers.

With unemployment numbers due out any moment now, Gallup is giving us a picture of what to expect, and it isn’t good:

Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 10.1% in September — up sharply from 9.3% in August and 8.9% in July. Much of this increase came during the second half of the month — the unemployment rate was 9.4% in mid-September — and therefore is unlikely to be picked up in the government’s unemployment report on Friday.

To get a bigger picture, here is how unemployment has looked over the past several months, according to Gallup:

Gallup unemployment

Gallup also warns that whatever numbers are reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning may understate unemployment for the month of September:

The government’s final unemployment report before the midterm elections is based on job market conditions around mid-September. Gallup’s modeling of the unemployment rate is consistent with Tuesday’s ADP report of a decline of 39,000 private-sector jobs, and indicates that the government’s national unemployment rate in September will be in the 9.6% to 9.8% range. This is based on Gallup’s mid-September measurements and the continuing decline Gallup is seeing in the U.S. workforce during 2010.

Americans to Congress: Everything you are doing is bad

Well, almost everything, according to a recent survey by Gallup asking Americans adults (not registered or likely voters) what they thought about legislation passed by Congress since President Barack Obama took office last year, such as ObamaCare, the stimulus and auto bailouts. Um, yeah, they’re not real happy.

Here is a look at the party breakdown:

Gallup isn’t making sense

Earlier today, Zach mentioned the Gallup numbers that came out yesterday. While I agree with him that Republicans need to focus on real issues (jobs should be the theme), the numbers from Gallup are confusing.

Last week, Gallup showed Republicans with a 10 point advantage in the generic ballot and a 25 point advantage in voter enthusiasm. This week Gallup shows both parties tied at 46% in the generic ballot, however, voter enthusiasm is exactly the same as it was the previous poll. It doesn’t pass the smell test.

Over at Outside the Beltway, Doug Mataconis makes a great point:

For some reason Gallup is still measuring Registered rather than Likely Voters. With only eight weeks left to go until election day, the predictive value of a Registered Voter poll is fairly low.

Gallup has tracked registered voters in generic ballots. Other polling firms, such as a Rasmussen (+12 for GOP), Washington Post/ABC (+13 for GOP) and Wall Street Journal/NBC, are using likely voters to measure their numbers, which gives a more accurate picture of what we can expect in November.

Democrats Close Gap in Generic Ballot

In just one week the Democrats have closed a ten point gap on a generic ballot according to a Gallup Poll released yesterday:

The latest Gallup update on 2010 voting preferences marks the first time in over a month at which Republicans have not held an advantage among registered voters on Gallup’s weekly generic ballot update. This shift, coupled with the fact that Democrats led on the measure earlier in the summer, shows that voter sentiments are not immune to change. Hoping to prove this, Democrats from the president on down are gearing up to maximize their chances of keeping party control of the House, just as voter attention to the campaign is increasing after the Labor Day weekend.

While the Republicans are seemingly distracted by rabbit holes, as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour called it, they have not seized the opportunity to clearly set an agenda to deal with the number one issue facing the American Voter this year; jobs, jobs, jobs.

Hoping to win by default just isn’t going to cut it.  And playing on biases and cultural differences to score cheap political points will only work for so long.  It is time for the Republicans to clearly articulate a plan for economic recovery.

Perhaps this poll can serve as the wakeup call the Republicans so desperately need. If they choose to stay on the path they are on, their wins will not be as great as they could be.

NC-4: Could B.J. Lawson defeat Rep. David Price?

Last week, I remarked that after looking at the latest generic ballot numbers from Gallup, which showed the GOP with a 10 point advantage, that candidates like a B.J. Lawson, who we chatted with back in March, could be competitive in what has been considered a “safe Democratic” seat.

Well, a just released campaign internal shows B.J. Lawson, not just in the margin of error, but with a slight advantage over Rep. David Price (D-NC):

William (B.J.) Lawson, MD, Republican challenger to Rep. David Price in North Carolina’s Fourth District, announces a turning point in his campaign as a recent poll shows that 46.5 percent of likely voters would elect him, as opposed to 46.1 percent who would vote to re-elect 22-year incumbent Rep. Price.

“This proves that voters know that Washington insiders aren’t serving their best interests, especially not one who votes with Nancy Pelosi more than any other congressman,” said Dr. Lawson.  “Nearly half of these respondents are Democratic voters, so regardless of political affiliation, Americans know you can’t spend yourself out of a recession just like you can’t drink yourself sober.  Americans know that you need to cut taxes and wasteful government spending, stop the bailouts, and let North Carolina keep more of our money to allow us to create jobs and prosperity in our own communities. Americans are hurting and responsibly tightening their belts and their spending, so it’s time for the government to have enough respect for us to do the same.”

Gallup shows GOP leading in 7 out of 9 electoral issues

Earlier this week, I told you about a poll from Rasmussen showing Republicans leading Democrats on 10 major issues ranging from the economy to health care and national security to Social Security.

Gallup came out with a similar poll yesterday showing the GOP leading in seven out of nine issues important to voters. Democrats are statistically tied with Republicans on health care and corruption in government. The only issue they are running away on is the environment.

Here is a look at the poll:

Voters rank the economy and jobs as the most important issues, which the GOP has to hammer home in the coming months to do what they need to do to win. Other issues, such as Afghanistan, the environment and immigration are not as important to voters, according to the Gallup survey.

Gallup: GOP takes 10 point lead in generic congressional ballot

As Democrats run away from Speaker Nancy Pelosi like rats from the Titanic, the latest generic congressional ballot from Gallup shows Republicans taking an “unprecendented” 10 point lead over Democrats, 51% to 41%.

And the enthusiasm gap is continuing to grow between Republicans and Democrats, though a problem for the GOP is that independent voters don’t seem to be very interested in the mid-terms:

Were still nine weeks away from election day, the margin is going to fluctuate between now and then, but there is little doubt that Republicans are poised to pick up dozens of seats, potentially enough to take back the House of Representatives. But I would not be surprised to see candidates like a B.J. Lawson, for example, be competitive in what has been considered a “safe Democratic” seat.

Yesterday, as teaser to polling that will be released today, Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, released numbers from Ohio showing that voters in the Buckeye State miss George W. Bush(!):

[B]y a 50-42 margin voters there say they’d rather have George W. Bush in the White House right now than Barack Obama.

Republicans hit 50% on Gallup generic congressional ballot

The latest generic congressional ballot from Gallup shows Republicans finally hitting 50%, while Democrats are at 43%. Republicans also hold a 13 point advantage over Democrats (47% to 34%) among independent voters:

According to the chart below from FiveThirtyEight, a +7 advantage in the generic congressional ballot could translate into a 50+ seat pick-up in the House of Representatives, more than what is needed to take control of that chamber.

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