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State of the Race Update

by Ruy Teixeira
cross-posted at the Washington Monthly's Showdown '06 blog

Over the weekend, I put up a lengthy post on "State of the Race: The Macro and the Micro", which provided my basic take on how the campaign currently looks, based both on macro (national) and micro (race-specific) indicators. There isn't much new micro data, but the release of four new national polls (CNN, USA Today/Gallup, CBS/New York Times and ABC/Washington Post) yesterday allows for some updating of the macro indictors--updating that is all bad, bad, bad for the GOP.

Generic Congressional Vote. In these four polls, Democrats averaged a 17 point lead over the Republicans. That pulls Charles Franklin's trend-based estimate of the Democratic advantage up to 13 points.

Bush Approval. These four polls averaged 37 percent approval for president Bush. Charles Franklin's trend estimate has consequentially been pulled down to 38 percent.

Congressional approval. These four polls averaged 28 percent Congressional approval.

Party Favorability and Preferences. In the Gallup poll, Democrats in Congress are favored over Repubicans in Congress on health care (+37), gas prices (+26), corruption in government (+21), the economy (+21), the situation in Iraq (+17), immigration (+13) and even moral standards in the country (+7) and terrorism (+5). In the ABC/Washington Post poll, the Democratic party is favored over the Republican party on health care (+33), ethics in government (+19), the economy (+17), immigration (+13), the situation in Iraq (+13) and even the US campaign against terrorism (+6).

Believe me, this just scratches the surface of all the bad news in these polls for the GOP. If these macro sentiments are driving the micro situation farther toward the Democrats--which they likely are--the GOP is indeed in very big trouble. No wonder Charlie Cook observed in his latest column: "Four weeks is a lifetime in politics and the tide still could shift. But for Republicans to salvage their majorities in the House and Senate, quite a bit would have to change."

Stay tuned. We shall see if the GOP gets those changes...or whether these polls foreshadow a disastrous election day for the Republicans.