Tidal wave? 10-point poll edge for GOP

By JONATHAN ALLEN & RICHARD E. COHEN, Politico

Democrats thought things couldn’t get much worse on the electoral front — and then they went home to campaign.

A new Gallup poll released Monday shows Republicans with a record 10-point edge over Democrats on the “generic ballot” test — the question of whether voters prefer a Democratic or Republican congressional candidate. It’s the largest GOP polling edge at this stage in the 68 years of the generic ballot poll.

While party optimists say Democrats may cling to a small majority after the November election, an increasing number of Democratic strategists now say privately that they fear the House is already lost.

The Gallup poll, coming at the end of a brutal August for Democrats and President Barack Obama, reinforces the rapidly forming prevailing view that the horizon is as bleak for Democrats as it ever has been.

Indeed, the 51 percent to 41 percent edge Republicans have now on the generic ballot poll represents the largest Republican edge heading into a mid-term election since the poll was first conducted in the 1942 election cycle, giving them greater reason for optimism than in the weeks leading up to their 1952 and 1994 House takeovers. It also represents a stunning reversal from the 6-point lead Democrats posted in the poll in mid-July.

Worse for Democrats, the news comes after they’ve spent most of the last month on the campaign trail, touting their accomplishments for local communities and trying to remind voters of what life was like when George W. Bush was president.

The message that things are better than they could be hasn’t exactly been a winner with voters.

“You have millions of Americans worried about the economy, jobs, deficits, their children’s future, and we’re out there talking about what – Bush, Iraq?” said Chris Kofinis, a longtime Democratic strategist. “Our message needs to be more positive, more hopeful, more focused, and we need talk to the economic reality of everyday Americans and their families. There is time to pivot, but we’re just not there yet.”

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