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October 2010, Week 5

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(1)
Labor Helps Key Senate Dems, But Abandons Most House
Blue Dogs 
By Alexander Bolton 
The Hill 
10/27/10
http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/126163-labor-helps-key-senate-dems-but-abandons-most-house-blue-dogs

. . .

A review of independent expenditures reported in the
last two months show that labor unions have not spent
money on television ads to defend vulnerable House
Democratic centrists such as Reps. Bobby Bright (Ala.),
John Salazar (Co.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Baron Hill
(Ind.), Ben Chandler (Ky.), Travis Childers (Miss.),
Lincoln Davis (Tenn.), Jim Marshall (Ga.), Gene Taylor
(Miss.), Ike Skelton (Mo.) and John Adler (N.J.).

All are at risk of losing in a cycle where Democrats
appear likely to lose control of the House.

Bright, Chandler, Childers, Davis, Marshall and Taylor
are all members of the House Democratic Blue Dog
Coalition.

All of them voted against healthcare reform legislation
twice, and none of them cosponsored the Employee Free
Choice Act, which makes it easier for workers to
organize into unions.

In contrast, unions have come to the aid of Senate
Democratic candidates in West Virginia and Colorado
despite the candidates' opposition to card-check
legislation.

Both races are toss-ups, and losses in West Virginia and
Colorado could cause control of the upper chamber to
shift to the GOP.

. . .

Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission and
compiled by National Journal's The Hotline show that at
least 26 members of the Blue Dog Coalition in tough
races have not received any significant help from labor
unions in the form of independent expenditures.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)
and Republican-allied third-party groups have spent
hundreds of thousands of dollars on independent
expenditures to defeat each of them.

[moderator: for the entire article
http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/126163-labor-helps-key-senate-dems-but-abandons-most-house-blue-dogs]

(2) 
Gauging the scope of the tea party movement in America
By Amy Gardner
Washington Post
October 24, 2010
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/23/AR2010102304000.html

. . .

But a new Washington Post canvass of hundreds of local
tea party groups reveals a different sort of
organization, one that is not so much a movement as a
disparate band of vaguely connected gatherings that do
surprisingly little to engage in the political process.

The results come from a months-long effort by The Post
to contact every tea party group in the nation, an
unprecedented attempt to understand the network of
individuals and organizations at the heart of the
nascent movement.

Seventy percent of the grass-roots groups said they have
not participated in any political campaigning this year.
As a whole, they have no official candidate slates, have
not rallied behind any particular national leader, have
little money on hand, and remain ambivalent about their
goals and the political process in general.

. . .

The local groups stand in contrast to - and, in their
minds, apart from - a handful of large national groups
that claim the tea party label. Most of those outfits,
including FreedomWorks and Tea Party Express, are headed
by longtime political players who have used their
resources and know-how to help elect a number of
candidates.

The findings suggest that the breadth of the tea party
may be inflated. The Atlanta-based Tea Party Patriots,
for example, says it has a listing of more than 2,300
local groups, but The Post was unable to identify
anywhere near that many, despite help from the
organization and independent research.

In all, The Post identified more than 1,400 possible
groups and was able to verify and reach 647 of them.
Each answered a lengthy questionnaire about their
beliefs, members and goals. The Post tried calling the
others as many as six times. It is unclear whether they
are just hard to reach or don't exist.

. . .

The tea party's biggest successes this year have come
only after one of a handful of well-funded national
groups swooped in to mobilize local support. In upset
victories in Alaska and Delaware, for instance, the
Sacramento-based Tea Party Express spent hundreds of
thousands of dollars on advertising for Republican
Senate candidates Joe Miller and Christine O'Donnell,
respectively.

Other national groups, such as FreedomWorks and
Americans for Prosperity, have also built organizations
and spent millions of dollars on advertising, high-
profile bus tours or other direct campaign tactics.

[moderator: for the entire article
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/23/AR2010102304000.html]

(3)
New Polls Show a Democratic Apolcalypse (But Are They Wrong?)
William Galston
The New Republic.
October 25, 2010
http://www.tnr.com/blog/william-galston/78623/new-polls-show-democratic-apocalypse-are-they-wrong

Recently, three respected national surveys--Gallup, Pew,
and now Battleground--have given Republicans a double-
digit edge among likely voters. While I'm no expert on
this history of public opinion research, I can think of
no parallel to these findings during my three decades of
involvement in national politics.

There are only two possibilities: Either this election
is so distinctive that existing likely voter models,
which are derived inductively from past experience, are
simply inapplicable, or we are looking at a potential
Republican sweep of historic proportions, larger even
than 1994, long regarded as the ne plus ultra of
contemporary swings. If so, the oft-repeated
characterization of this election as a "wave" seems
inadequate; tsunami would be more like it.

In particular, these findings have implications closely
contested Senate races, which are numerous right now.
During recent decades, three elections--1980, 1986, and
2006--have featured tossup races that all ended up
falling in the same direction. If Republicans enjoy
anything like a double-digit edge on November 2, 2010,
may well be another such election.

This is a time of testing--for Democrats, but also for
the profession of survey research. On November 3, one or
the other will have to go back to the drawing board.

(4)
Democrats' Grip on the South Continues to Slip
By JEFF ZELENY
New York Times
October 18, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/us/politics/19south.html

JONESBORO, Ark. - The Southern white Democrat, long on
the endangered list, is at risk of being pushed one step
closer to extinction.

From Virginia to Florida and South Carolina to Texas,
nearly two dozen Democratic seats are susceptible to a
potential Republican surge in Congressional races on
Election Day, leaving the party facing a situation where
its only safe presence in the South is in urban and
predominantly black districts.

The swing has been under way since the passage of the
Civil Rights Act in 1964, when President Lyndon B.
Johnson predicted that his fellow Democrats would face a
backlash of white voters that would cost the party the
South. It continued with Ronald Reagan's election and
reached a tipping point in the Republican sweep of 1994,
with more than one-third of the victories coming from
previously Democratic seats in the South.

This year, retirements of Democrats have left the party
scrambling to retain four open seats in Arkansas and
Tennessee that have been in their control for most of
the last century. Those districts, along with others
held by incumbents in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and
North Carolina, are central to the Republican strategy
to win the House.

For the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans
also are well-positioned to control more state
legislative chambers and seats than Democrats in the
South, which would have far-reaching effects for
redistricting.

. . .

Should a large number of Democratic candidates lose, it
would be a significant step in one of the most
fundamental, if slow-moving, political realignments in
American politics.

There are 59 Democrats in House seats across the South
from the 11 states of the old Confederacy, totaling 43
white representatives and 16 black ones. Of those seats
in predominantly white districts, nine are leaning
Republican, eight are tossups and at least five more are
competitive, according to the latest rankings by The New
York Times, creating the prospect of the biggest
Democratic losses since 1994, when 19 seats fell.

[moderator: to read the full article
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/us/politics/19south.html]

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