Thursday, June 16, 2005

Are the Democrats gaining in popularity?

So it seems that Democratic senators have higher approval ratings, on average, than their Republican counterparts. Ruy Teixeira of Donkey Rising (he of The Emerging Democratic Majority fame) reports here. Rick Heller of Centerfield (where I'm one of the group bloggers, cross-posting some stuff from The Reaction along with some original pieces) reports here. I'm not sure what to make of it. 2006 is just around the corner, and it may be that extremism and over-reach are beginning to catch up with Republicans. And, too, the Republican caucus in the Senate has moved noticeably to the right in recent years. This is no time for Democratic complacency, and I would only suggest that Democrats focus on providing a viable alternative to Republicans by encouraging internal diversity, fostering an atmosphere of respect, promoting serious policy debates, and working on a coherent message that will resonate with voters. Easier said than done, maybe, but now's their chance. (For my takes on the Democrats and their fortunes, see here, here, and here.)

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  • Frankly, I'm not sure it means all that much. Obviously, the Administration is losing popularity, which you would expect in the second term, even without the various controversies. The issue in the 2006 elections is always going to be the alternatives. It's fine to show that Democrats have higher approval ratings than Republicans. But that doesn't mean much until you see who each would be running against. Bush wasn't all that popular before the election either, but when it came down to a choice of him or Kerry, the voters preferred Bush. I certainly hope that the Democrats are making a resurgence, but I don't think you can assume that just based on approval ratings.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:53 PM  

  • No, it doesn't really mean much at all. I do think that Democrats are beginning to make a resurgence, but I think it has more to do with the fact that the Republican Party is beginning to unravel under the pressures of over-reaching (social security, Terri Schiavo, etc.) and the continuing fiasco that is Iraq. So their resurgence is, well, relative.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 2:06 AM  

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