Among independent voters, who went heavily for Obama in 2008 and congressional Democrats in 2006, the numbers for Republicans on the confidence questions were even more worse. Just 17 percent of independents expressed confidence in Republicans' ability to make the right decision while 83 percent said they did not have that confidence.And all the wingers can do is say "But, but, that 20% number clearly means you're oversampling Democrats, Rassmussen says..."
(While Obama's numbers on the confidence question weren't amazing -- 49 percent confident/50 percent not confident -- they were far stronger than those for Republicans.)
On the generic ballot question, 51 percent of the sample said they would cast a vote for a Democratic candidate in their congressional district next fall while just 39 percent said they would opt for a GOP candidate. (As late as this summer, Republicans had seemingly narrowed the wide generic ballot lead Democrats enjoyed for much of the last two election cycles.)
And, perhaps most troubling for GOP hopes is the fact that just 20 percent of the Post sample identified themselves as Republicans, the lowest that number has been in Post polling since 1983. (No, that is not a typo.)
These numbers, coming roughly one year before the 2010 midterm elections, show that any celebration on the GOP's behalf is premature as the party has yet to convince most voters that it can be a viable alternative to Democratic control in Washington today.
No, jackass. The Republican brand really is that damaged. Voters are at best 50-50ish about the Dems right now, but they still flat out hate the Republican party. Nothing in the world is going to fix that 20% number right now, and there's no way to spin it.
Needless to say, there are a lot of contingencies. Will the Tea Party/Glenn Beck crowd go to the polls in large numbers, or are they so disillusioned that even that feels like selling out to them? Will Democrats be motivated to turn out to support a President who has managed to pass, say, a major stimulus package, a big health care bill, and a financial regulation initiative -- or will their expectations have been so high that they'll prove to be complacent? What role will third party candidates play? (They're playing a very important role right now in New Jersey and NY-23). And of course, what will the economy and the situation in Afghanistan look like one year hence?Yes, a lot can happen in a year. But the Republicans still haven't made the case for why they are a better alternative, unlike the Democrats in 2006 and especially 2008.
Over the summer, I estimated about a 30 percent chance that Republicans would take over the House. I would now dial that back slightly to 20 or perhaps 25 percent, as key metrics like Presidential approval and the generic ballot appear to have stabilized for the Democrats. The bottom, for now, doesn't seem to be falling out. But it still could, and even if it doesn't, the enthusiasm gap remains something for them to worry about.
[UPDATE 2:25 PM] Greg Sargent notes the GOP is in the same boat as they were in 06 and 08.
In June of 2008 (the most recent historical data in the WaPo poll), Dems led the generic matchup 52%-37%. And in early November of 2006 the Dem lead was 51%-45%. Today the spread is largely unchanged.If wishes were horses, the GOP would have lunch.