Monday, October 16, 2006

Recent Rating Changes Point to a November ‘Nightmare’ for GOP

In October 1994, Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report alerted its readers to the increasing possibility of a Republican takeover of Congress. Using the traditional symbols of the Democratic and Republican parties, the cover illustration was a cartoon of a donkey having a nightmare of elephants storming up the steps of the Capitol.

A dozen years later, it would be the elephant sleeping fitfully. And the dream keeping it awake could be titled “Nightmare on First Street II — The Donkey Stampede.”

The trend against the GOP is illustrated in changes that CQPolitics.com made to its ratings last week (Oct. 9-13). Congressional Quarterly’s free elections Web site altered its forecasts on one Senate race and 17 House races — and in all but one case, the analysis showed the Democratic candidate gaining ground over his or her Republican opponent. (view CQ Weekly's election forecast chart)

The momentum continues to clearly be on the Democrats’ side: The job approval ratings for President Bush’s Republican administration and the Republican-controlled Congress have plummeted deep into the danger zone.

The administration’s handling of the war in Iraq is now opposed by a sizable majority of voters responding to polls; those polls show Democrats with big leads on their ability to address nearly all major issues; and the scandal over the House Republican leadership’s actions in the scandal involving resigned Florida GOP Rep. Mark Foley has blunted efforts by Bush and his party’s candidates to make their case for continued Republican control.

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