"After a couple of relatively quiet months, the Senate race rankings have undergone a fairly major shakeup, with 15 distinct contests receiving an upgrade or a downgrade based on a combination of local and national circumstances. Most of these changes favor Republicans -- 7 of the 10 upgrades (meaning that a party switch is now more likely) were made to Democratic-held seats; 4 of the 5 downgrades were made to Republican-held seats. While there are still plenty of opportunities for the Democrats in the Senate, I believe that the Republicans are now slightly more likely to gain seats than to lose them, potentially threatening the Democrats' supposed filibuster-proof majority."[emphasis added]
It's clearly too early to start worrying about 2010, and I'm passing this information along only as an interesting--if potentially unimportant--snapshot of the country right now.
The Democrats won in 2006 and 2008 with overwhelming electoral mandates, yet they've stumbled on major domestic issues (health care) and straight up failed on major international issues (escalation in Afghanistan, continuing rendition, etc.). I wrote at the beginning of this month:
"...Will the country eventually swing "Right" again? History tells us that it will, but, who will actually do that?
The changing demographics in America have rendered the Southern Strategy--in which you use code words to convince scared white southerners that you're on their side--obsolete. Latinos, who traditionally have voted Republican, are moving to the Democratic party in droves. It remains to be seen if the youth vote will remain as strong as it did for Obama in the coming years, but they certainly won't be the ones to give power back to the GOP. The Republican base is shrinking fast, and there's no reason to believe that that trend will reverse itself."
Like I said, it's far too early to know what will happen in 2010, but it appears that my prediction that the GOP might have been gasping its final breath may have been overstated.
That said, here's another interesting poll that argues, "No, no, everyone still hates the Republicans more than the Democrats." From Swamp Politics:
"The poll found that favorable ratings for the Democratic Party have declined since spring. Just 49 percent said they have a favorable view of the Democratic Party, compared to a 59 percent positive rating in April and 62 percent in January.
Opinion of the Republican Party has remained constant, at 40 percent all year."
That's from August 19th, so the numbers might be slightly different now, but that's the gist. Nine percentage points is still quite substantial, but the downward trend makes me a bit nervous. For all the Democrat bashing that happens around here, the idea of the GOP in control of anything beyond a traveling freak show is truly terrifying.