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Charlie Cook (see his very interesting take earlier this week on PA-12) mentions the race again in the National Journal today, and its national bellwether status for the midterms:

CookEven Democratic analysts don't express much optimism about their party's chances this fall. A close reading of the April 26 Democracy Corps report on its April 17-20 national survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research reveals a valiant effort to look for positive green shoots but acknowledges that Democrats are in a very, very difficult situation. The gist of what passes for hope in the Democratic report, which was written by pollsters Stan Greenberg and Peyton Craighill along with strategist James Carville, is just eight words long: "Fortunately, Republicans have not yet closed the deal."

Everyone would do well to remember that we have six months to go and the election's trajectory could still change. This month could provide important clues about whether the Republican storm is still gathering force.

On May 18, Pennsylvania will hold a special election in its 12th Congressional District to fill the House seat of the late John Murtha. This is the only congressional district in the nation that went for Republican John McCain in 2008 after backing Democrat John Kerry in 2004.

It is a swing seat long held by Murtha for his party, but this part of the Keystone State is showing signs of going Republican. A Democratic loss would underscore the narrative that Democrats are in serious trouble heading toward November.

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