Political Miscellania 6/24/10
A roundup of recent political news.
1. Nikki Haley, see the above video, crushed her opponent in the runoff 65-35. She survived bizzare accusations of infidelity, attacks on whether she is a Christian, her parents are Sikh immigrants, and outright racism. She is only 38 years old, her youth being something she has in common with the new generation of conservatives running and winning this year. She has a 20 point lead on her opponent in the general election and is the odds on favorite to win in the fall and be the next governor of South Carolina.
2. Tim Scott handily won his runoff against Paul Thurmond for the Republican nomination for Congress from South Carolina 1. This is a heavily Republican district, so Mr. Scott, who many consider to be the most conservative member of the South Carolina legislature, will now almost certainly be the first black Republican congressman from South Carolina since Reconstruction.
3. The bad news for the Democrats for November just will not stop. Gallup released a poll this week which shows a huge enthusiasm gap in favor of the GOP.
The current average is based on four measures of this enthusiasm question since February, including the recent June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll. In that poll, 53% of Republicans said they were more enthusiastic than usual about voting and 39% were less enthusiastic, while 35% of Democrats said they were more enthusiastic about voting and 56% were less enthusiastic.
Republicans’ net score of +14 more enthusiastic in the latest poll compared with the Democrats’ net score of -21 represents the largest relative party advantage Gallup has measured in a single midterm election-year poll. More generally, Republicans have shown a decided relative advantage in enthusiasm throughout 2010, averaging a net score of +28, compared with Democrats’ net score of 0.
(Gallup instituted a separate enthusiasm question in March on its Daily tracking survey, which asks voters to say how enthusiastic they are about voting this year as opposed to comparing their current enthusiasm to their enthusiasm in prior elections. This new enthusiasm question lacks a historical trend but has also shown a consistent Republican advantage throughout the year.)
The 28 percentage-point party difference in net scores on the “more enthusiastic than usual” question in 2010 is the highest Gallup has measured in a midterm election year, with 1994’s 17-point Republican advantage the only other midterm election-year gap coming close. (See the table at the end of the article for full data by party.)
4. Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics, a site for political junkies to consult every day, has a great look at the Senate races:
As a somewhat stark reminder of just how difficult a year this is going to be for Democrats, look at how many Democratic incumbents are polling under 50% in the RCP Average at the moment:
Blanche Lincoln (AR) is at 35.0% against John Boozman.
Harry Reid (NV) is at 41.0% against Sharron Angle.
Michael Bennet (CO) is at 42.7% when matched up against Jane Norton and 43.0% against Ken Buck.
Patty Murray (WA) is at 46.3% against unknowns Clint Didier and Paul Akers and she’s at 45.7% against Dino Rossi.
Barbara Boxer (CA) is at 46.6% against Carly Fiorina.
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) is at 48.0%, 48.3%, and 48.7%, respectively, against three no-name Republicans.
Russ Feingold (WI) is at 49.7% against Dave Westlake. Feingold was at an even lower 48.5% in the RCP Average against Terrence Wall before he dropped his bid at the beginning of the month, and a new Rasmussen poll shows Feingold at a mere 46% and in a statistical tie with Republican newcomer Ron Johnson.
Outside of Bennet and Gillibrand, these are exceedingly well-established members of the Democratic Senate caucus. As you can see, in Arkansas (which votes Republican at the Presidential level but heavily Democratic at the state level) and in the swing states of Nevada and Colorado, Democratic incumbents aren’t even within spitting distance of 50%, while those in deep blue states (NY, CA, WA and to a lesser degree WI) are also falling short of majority support. (Note: Two recent polls show Ron Wyden at 51%, which is also pretty soft, but given the quality of Wyden’s opposition his seat looks safe at the moment.)
By contrast, Republicans have just two incumbents hovering below the 50% mark in the RCP Averages right now:
Go here to read the rest.
5. In Foreign Policy Daniel W. Drezner has an article that examines one of the sadly overlooked issues of this campaign season:
There are many sources of fear in world politics — terrorist attacks, natural disasters, climate change, financial panic, nuclear proliferation, ethnic conflict, and so forth. Surveying the cultural zeitgeist, however, it is striking how an unnatural problem has become one of the fastest-growing concerns in international relations. I speak, of course, of zombies.
Go here to read Night of the Living Wonks.