Whilst the Massachusetts Senate Special and a series of dodgy house polls have Democrats convinced that the November midterms will be apocalyptic; the fact is that a number of Republican held House districts are in fact vulnerable to a takeover from Democratic challengers.
That's some big movement for Taddeo since June, and the gain is across the board for Democrats -- Obama has pulled ahead of McCain by 47-45 here, after trailing McCain by 10 points in June. These results come after a Carlos McDonald poll from late September showed Ros-Lehtinen ahead by 48-35 -- a wide margin, but also not a particularly strong top line for a longtime incumbent.
Taddeo has made a lot of progress, increasing her name recognition from 14% to 63%. With Democrats experiencing a remarkable voter registration surge in this district (cutting a 23,202 GOP registration advantage in 2006 down to a deficit of only 1,730 voters this year), Ros-Lehtinen could end up receiving a November surprise.
The full polling memo is available below the fold.
The Florida Division of Elections has just posted new numbers for each congressional district, and a quick glance confirms that the trend is continuing big time. Statewide, Democrats have added an additional 200,000 registered voters to their advantage over the GOP since July. But let's take a look at the same nine districts that we looked at in August.
In the 2006 column, we have the GOP's voter registration advantage in each district as of October 10th, 2006. In the next column, we have the numbers as of July 28 of this year, followed by the most recent numbers (October 8). Take a peek:
Wow -- for the first time, Democrats now have a partisan advantage in the 8th District, where Democrat Alan Grayson is taking on GOP crumb-bum Ric Keller. Keller is locked in the fight of his political life, and these numbers prove it.
While two of these districts are pretty much off the map in terms of realistic Democratic pick-up opportunities (the 9th CD and the open seat dud in the 15th), the other huge shift can be seen in South Florida, where Democrats are waging tough fights against the Diaz-Balart brothers (the 21st and 25th CDs) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in the 18th District. For years, these districts were seen as Republican strongholds, but now, Democrats have chipped away significantly at the GOP's edge.
Democrats have even made up a lot of ground in the 16th District; it's just too bad that disgraced Rep. Tim Mahoney has squandered it all.
Full raw numbers for all of these districts are available below the fold.
Joe Garcia (D): 41
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-inc): 43
Both Garcia and Diaz-Balart are scoring roughly an equal amount of support from their own parties (81% of Dems are for Garcia, and 82% of Republicans side with Diaz-Balart), but Independents are breaking for the Democrat by a 44-38 margin. While the margin of error for this one is a bit portly, it's very close to the results we've seen from other pollsters. Research 2000 gave Diaz-Balart a 45-41 edge here a few days before this poll was conducted, and an earlier Bendixen poll from June showed a 44-39 race.
And here's the scene in the 18th District, the toughest nut of the South Florida trio:
Taddeo has a slight edge (39-36) among Independent voters, and this is the first time that Ros-Lehtinen has been under 50 in a poll this year. Bendixen had Taddeo trailing by 27 points in June, and Research 2000 showed a 17-point Ros-Lehtinen lead last week. It's still a tough race for Taddeo, but these numbers offer some hope. After all, some incumbents who posted bigger leads than this in late September polls ended up feeling some November Pain in 2006.
UPDATE (David): Telemundo also polled FL-21 (Raul Martinez vs. Lincoln Diaz-Balart) but hasn't released those numbers yet. However, they have offered the traditional bonus finding: Across all three S. Fla districts, McCain leads Obama 52-39, similar to what we've seen in other polls.
Also note that there's a discrepancy between the MoEs advertised by Telemundo and the sample sizes they've proffered. The individual district polls included just 300 respondents each, which ordinarily means an MoE of 5.7%. Telemundo for some reason has reported this as just a 5% MoE, but that can't be correct. Similarly, for all three polls (900 respondents), the MoE is higher than the 3% they claim - more like 3.3%.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's "new" ad looks like it was cobbled together from vintage footage shot in the 1980s... in Cuba:
Why is Ileana rushing a recycled ad on to the air? For one, she was completely caught off-guard by Annette Taddeo getting up on TV first, with a positive bio ad followed by a hit tying IRL to Bush. But far more embarrassing is this: Ileana just got (by her own admission) an awful new haircut. It's so bad that apparently she won't film new footage until it grows out. With any luck, that'll be after Nov. 4th.
This takes "vanity campaign" to a whole 'nother level.
Difficult numbers for Taddeo, but the only other public poll (by Bendixen & Associates) showed her 27 points back in July, so this is certainly a good bit better. As is often the case with first-time candidates who haven't yet hit the airwaves, Taddeo is still unknown by a sizable chunk of the populace (30%), so she has room to grow. (And the good news is that she just went up on the air a few days ago, with both English and Spanish TV and radio ads.) Ros-Lehtinen, meanwhile, has only a so-so 49-37 approval rating.
The biggest question mark about this poll is the sample. It's 62% white and 31% Hispanic. While census data is often quite different from voter turnout data, this district is just 28% Anglo (ie, non-Hispanic whites). It's possible that some Hispanics (especially Cubans, I'm told) do indeed self-identify as white, so that might be part of the explanation.
This is actually a rather thorny issue in a district like this. A knowledgeable source tells me that a more likely turnout model would be 52% Hispanic and 40% white - and that it's also crucial for pollsters to filter respondents on a more fine-grained level. That's because Cuban vs. non-Cuban Hispanics have very different voting patterns in South Florida (the former are far more pro-GOP). The proper way to go about this is to ask the people you call about their (or their ancestors') country of origin, and it's not clear whether R2K did this.
Regardless, Hispanic and white performance in this poll was pretty similar. Annette Taddeo definitely has her work cut out for her. But remember - R2K did a poll almost exactly two years ago which showed Paul Hodes down by 25 points, so this race is definitely far from over.
UPDATE: On September 16 EMILY's List announced their endorsement of two more Congressional challengers: Becky Greenwald in IA-04 (D+0) and Sharen Neuhardt in OH-07 (R+6).
Maybe someone out there who knows the inner workings of EMILY's List can explain to me why this group has not put money behind Becky Greenwald, the Democrat challenging loyal Republican foot-soldier Tom Latham in Iowa's fourth Congressional district.
Man, Debbie Wasserman Schultz never seems to miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. A busy bee at Monday morning's breakfast for the Florida delegation to the Democratic National Convention, she nonetheless made a glaring omission:
"I've given 2,500 dollars to Joe Garcia, 5,000 dollars to Raul Martinez. I will be involved in their campaigns and supportive of them," said Wasserman Schultz. "I haven't been asked to be an attack dog. I am supporting Raul Martinez and Joe Garcia, and I'm looking forward to their successful election on Nov. 4."
You all know exactly what I'm talking about: Deb forgot to mention progressive fighter Annette Taddeo, running for Congress in Florida's 18th congressional district. Now, I'm thrilled that DWS has changed her tune and is openly backing Garcia and Martinez. (Remember, she previously tried to recuse herself from these races, despite being co-chair of the DCCC's Red to Blue program.)
But there's no reason at all for her to leave out Taddeo, who is also running in the greater Miami area. And doing so in front of Florida's convention contingent, which includes important political figures, activists and super-delegates, is really beneath contempt. It sends all the wrong messages.
Fortunately, another Florida congressman who had previous been reluctant to get involved, Rep. Kendrick Meek, has changed his tune - he gave $2000 to Taddeo and has pledged to raise more. That sends all the right messages. And it's not too late for Debbie to follow suit. But I think she'll need some more nudging.
So here's how you can help. Call Debbie Wasserman Schultz's campaign office at (202) 741-7154 and ask her to do as Rep. Meek has done: make a sizable donation to the Taddeo campaign and solicit her network for more contributions. We need more progressive champions like Annette Taddeo in Congress, and we need well-connected leaders like Wasserman Schultz to help them get there.
You can also e-mail her at AskDebbie@DWSforCongress.com, and her Finance Director, Jason O'Malley, at FinanceDirector@DWSforcongress.com. Whether you call or write, as always please be polite and brief. Our message is simple and our cause is just. Also, please do not call Debbie's congressional office, as this is purely a political issue which staffers on the federal payroll cannot get involved with.
If you do call or write, please let us know about it in comments!
With congressional primaries in Alaska and Florida on August 26th, tonight was the deadline for candidates to file their pre-primary fundraising reports with the FEC. I've rounded up the numbers of interest, covering the period of July 1st through August 6th, in the chart below. All figures are in thousands.
Christine Jennings has yet to file her report, but once she does, it will be available here.
Let's take a look at the numbers in the chart below. In the 2006 column, we have the GOP's voter registration advantage in each district as of October 10th, 2006. In the next column, we have the most recent spread, followed by the net change. In the last column, we've ranked the districts according to the percentage change in the GOP-Dem spread. Take a peek:
The ground is shifting quickly in the Orlando-based 8th District, where GOP Rep. Ric Keller could be facing a real battle to hang onto his seat. The next biggest shift is in South Florida, where Democrats have posted huge registration gains in recent months, and where Democrats Annette Taddeo, Raul Martinez, and Joe Garcia are giving Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and the Diaz-Balart brothers the fight of their lives.
The biggest black eye for Florida Democrats continues to be the open seat of FL-15, where despite having cut into the GOP's voter registration advantage by over 9000 votes, Democrats were not able to find a top-tier candidate for the race. Democrats held retiring Rep. Dave Weldon to a 56-44 margin with an unknown candidate in 2006, but it appears that our candidate this year won't be much stronger: both Democrats in the race have raised under $40K each.
Still, there's a lot of good news here, and we should see some exciting races in Florida this fall.