Aug 02, 2012
Memo: 96 Days - Democratic Incumbents Poised For Victory
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: DCCC Communications
RE: 96 Days – Democratic Incumbents Poised For Victory
DATE: August 2, 2012
The Republicans’ claim that they can keep control of the House rests on defeating 10 to 15 Democratic incumbents. House Republicans are dreaming if they think they can defeat Democratic incumbents this November, and recent news makes that crystal clear.
The combination of baggage-laden Republican challengers, strong Democratic incumbents and a shift in the national environment leave Republicans unlikely to win many, if any, seats with a Democratic Member of Congress running for re-election. Incumbent House Democrats are in a fundamentally stronger position than incumbent House Republicans as we kick off the final three months of this campaign.
Furthermore, it’s Republican incumbents who are significantly more exposed. The Cook Report currently has 85 seats between D+4 and R+4. Twenty (20) of those are controlled by Democrats but more than twice that (46) are controlled by Republicans.
NOT ALL INCUMBENTS ARE CREATED EQUAL. The data goes beyond just district-specific polling and shows that the vulnerability facing Republican incumbents doesn’t hold true for Democrats. A Battleground poll by Democracy Corps surveyed the 28 most vulnerable Republican and 23 most vulnerable Democratic districts across the country. It found the most vulnerable Republicans are - 2 (30 – 32 percent) in favorability while the most vulnerable Democrats are + 20 (43-23).
BATTLE-TESTED: Many House Democrats who face the toughest challenges for re-election survived the wave Republican year in 2010 because they had strong support from independents and Republicans. If they couldn’t be defeated at the Republican highpoint in 2010, they’re not going to be beat in 2012.
LEADING IN THE RECENT POLLS: The strength of Democratic incumbents is evident in polling in at least 12 districts.
AZ-02: Ron Barber leads Martha McSally by 13 points (53% - 40%) in a survey done by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. [Tucson Weekly, 8/1/12 ]
CA-03: John Garamendi leads Kim Vann by 15 points (52% - 37%) with a strong favorability rating of 2-to-1 (41% to 22%) in an automated poll conducted by the DCCC on July 25. [Politico, 7/31/12]
CA-09: Jerry McNerney leads by 16 points (49-33%) against Ricky Gill in a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners from July 8-11. [Politico, 8/1/12]
CA-24: Lois Capps leads Abel Maldonado by 11 points (51% - 40%) in a district that voted overwhelmingly for President Obama in 2008 according an automated poll conducted by the DCCC. [The Hill, 7/26/12]
ME-02: Mike Michaud leads Kevin Raye by an overwhelming 32 points (62-30%) according to an internal poll conducted by Normington, Petts & Associates for their campaign. [Roll Call, 7/16/12]
NC-07: Mike McIntrye has a 19-point lead (53-34%) over David Rouzer in a poll by Grove Insight conducted between July 26 and 29. In addition, McIntyre remains extremely popular with nearly four in ten having a favorable impression of him. [Roll Call, 7/31/12]
NC-08: Larry Kissell has a 10-point lead (46-36%) against a generic Republican opponent according to a poll conducted by the Kissell campaign before the Republican nominee was decided. [The Hill, 3/22/12 <> ]
NY-01: Tim Bishop has a 24-point lead over Randy Altschuler (56-32%) according to a poll conducted by Garin, Heart and Yang Research. [Roll Call, 7/24/12]
NY-21: Bill Owens has a 12-point lead over Matt Doheny (50-38%) according to a poll conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research this week. [Roll Call, 8/1/12]
OH-16: Betty Sutton leads Congressman Jim Renacci by 2 points (42-40%) in a new poll conducted by GBA Strategies between July 15 and 19. [Plain Dealer, 8/1/12]
PA-12: Mark Critz leads Keith Rothfus by six points (44-38%) according to a House Majority PAC poll. [Roll Call 7/16/12]
UT-04: Jim Matheson leads Mia Love by 18 points (51-33%) according to a poll conducted by Global Strategy Group from July 26 to 29. The poll found Matheson’s favorability at 65%. [The Hill, 7/31/12]
STRONG FUNDRAISING: Another important indicator of the strength of our incumbents is the Frontline Members’ fundraising numbers. Recent fundraising reports show 14 of 19 (74%) of Frontline Members outraised their Republican challengers. A full list of the strong Democratic incumbent fundraising is available here.
REPUBLICAN INCUMBENTS HAVE BAGGAGE: The so-called “top-tier Republican challengers” to Democratic incumbents are nothing more than a “Baggage Brigade.” Republicans failed to recruit candidates who would be trusted by voters or win elections, instead ending up with scandal plagued and baggage-laden candidates. From millions owed in back taxes to outsourcing and mismanagement, these Republican candidates are weighed down by baggage that ensures middle class families can’t trust them and won’t vote for them. The “Baggage Brigade” is available here.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Republicans are on defense across the country with 66 House Republican or new districts that were won by President Obama in 2008 and only 11 districts John McCain won in 2008 that are now held by a House Democrat.
While House Republicans like to talk a tough game about being on offense this cycle, it turns out their offense is paper thin. Democratic incumbents won in an incredibly challenging environment in 2010 with a gale forced wind in their face and these incumbents are battle-tested and on the path to winning again in 2012.