Atlas Project, November Elections

DonkeyRising points to a Washington Post piece on the Atlas Project:

According to the article, three veteran Democratic strategists, Mary Beth Cahill, Steve Rosenthal and Michael Whouley are launching “The Atlas Project” to design a “comprehensive strategy” to win votes in a dozen ‘battleground’ states. The authors say the innovative project will “analyze election data, interview local Democrats, and mount a polling and targeting effort” beginning right after the November elections. Rosenthal, former head of America Coming Together (ACT), says the Atlas Project will provide a more thorough targeting analysis than has ever been done before…In the heat of an election, it seems we’re always playing catch-up…Our goal with this project is to bring together the best strategic thinkers — the innovators at the state and national level — to learn from what’s been done over the past several elections.

Also from DonkeyRising:

A new bipartisan poll of likely voters in 50 of the most competitive districts of the U.S. House of Representatives indicates that Democratic candidates have a significant advantage three months ahead of the November elections. The poll, conducted 7/19-23 by Democrat Stanley Greenberg and Republican Glen Bolger for National Public Radio, indicates that Democrats have an aggregate 6-point lead over Republicans in the 50 districts — up 18 points from 2004, when Republicans won these districts by 12 percent.

Joe Conason also has this to say about the NPR poll:

For Democrats, who have suffered repeated Election Day disappointments since the dawn of the new millennium, predictions of victory are only another reason to be wary. But while caution is always advised and excessive optimism should be avoided, portents of a voter uprising against the Republican regime can be glimpsed on the November horizon. What seemed most unlikely a year ago — the turnover of the House of Representatives only 12 years after the “Gingrich revolution” — is looking very … possible.

The latest evidence is provided in an unusual survey released today by National Public Radio, whose bipartisan team interviewed a thousand likely voters last week. Many polls showing a generic preference for Democrats have appeared over the past several months, and many such polls have been dismissed by Republicans who say that national polling in a contest of 435 districts has little salience. But the NPR poll is different because, unlike most measures of midterm attitudes, this survey was conducted only in the 50 most hotly contested congressional districts. Pollsters Stan Greenberg and Glenn Bolger found that in those crucial districts, the attitudes about President Bush, the direction of the country, and the Republican congressional majority are strikingly negative.

People are angry. More than 60 percent of the voters in the NPR survey believe that the country is “pretty seriously” on the wrong track, while only 31 percent believe it is on the right track. Of those who feel that we’re on the wrong track, almost two-thirds blame the war in Iraq or the economy. Another 16 percent blame “Bush in general,” and only 6 percent blame illegal immigration.

People are especially angry at the president. Of the 50 districts surveyed by NPR, nine are represented by Democrats and one by an independent; the remaining 40 are represented by Republicans. But Bush’s approval rating in these overwhelmingly GOP-held districts is a dismal 42 percent.

People reject the “moral values” demagoguery. Most voters in the contested districts say that they trust Democrats, not Republicans, on such issues as stem cell research, flag burning and gay rights. Those responses indicate that the summer strategy of setting up phony floor votes on right-wing constitutional amendments — and the president’s first veto — may have backfired. Fifty-two percent say that the recent stem cell debate made them more inclined to vote for Democrats, and 49 percent said the same about flag burning, gay marriage and other “values issues.” Only 29 percent — essentially the conservative base — said those debates would motivate them to vote for Republicans.



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