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How the Economy Is Helping Democrats Downballot

By Ben Pershing
As Barack Obama has risen in the polls in recent weeks, we've heard much about how his ascent has been driven by bad economic news and the increasing belief among voters that Obama is better-prepared to deal with the crisis than John McCain is. But do voters actually trust Obama more on the economy because of the candidate himself and his positions, or is it just because he has a (D) after his name?

Now we may have some clues to answering that question, and they can be found in a host of recent polls of competitive House districts taken for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committtee. Conducted by Cornell Belcher, who does surveys for both the DCCC and Obama, the polls found Democrats as a whole ticking up on economic questions, including in districts that have long voted for Republicans.

"It was already shaping up to be a 'change' election ... but over the last three weeks we've seen even more Republican districts open up, with Independent voters taking a look at Democrats," Belcher said in an interview last week. "It's a 'change plus economics' election. So you have these two cross-pressures."

In Illinois' 13th district, an exurban Chicago seat where veteran Rep. Judy Biggert (R) is running for re-election, Belcher found that voters trust Democrats to fix the economy more than Republicans by a 19-point margin. They gave Democrats a 15-point edge on energy issues and an 11-point advantage on the broad question of which party "shares your values." And that's all in a district where President Bush won by 10 points in 2004 and 13 points in 2000.

The story is similar in the neighboring 6th district of freshman Rep. Peter Roskam (R). The seat has long leaned Republican -- Bush won it by 6 points in 2004 -- but now, Belcher found, Democrats have a 14-point edge on the economy and a 15-point lead on energy.

Does that mean that Biggert and Roskam are going to lose? No. Both remain favored to win re-election, and neither of their races gets included on most prognoticators' lists of competitive contests. The point here is that if Democrats are opening up such a wide lead on economic issues in Republican districts like these, what's going to happen in the true swing seats? And that's before the effects of Obama's increasingly strong candidacy -- and money -- enter the discussion.

"The economy is taking the position [as an issue] we saw national security and terrorism take up in 2004," Belcher said.

Of course, there's a reason that Biggert and Roskam are still favored to win, and therein lies the GOP's chance to avoid a tidal wave this cycle. House races are ultimately a contest of two people, not two parties.

"Each respective congressional race is going to be a choice between two candidates," said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "At a time when the economy is weighing heavily on the minds of voters across the country, Democrats are offering up candidates that have supported massive tax increases and put their own political needs above the needs of the middle class."

In Ohio's 1st district, for example, Rep. Steve Chabot (R) is in a tossup race against state Rep. Steve Driehaus (D). The economy is particularly bad in the state and Ohio is on the upswing there, so the NRCC isn't making a general case about the GOP's superiority. It's going after Driehaus as an individual candidate, running an ad hitting the Democrat for his record in the state Legislature.

But there's only so much the NRCC can do in this environment, particularly given its cash limitations. And while the GOP focuses on saving obviously vulnerable members like Chabot, on Election Day, the numbers indicate that some seemingly-safe members like Biggert or Roskam are going to lose.

By Ben Pershing  |  October 20, 2008; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign , Economy Watch  
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Comments

Of course the economy is helping the Dems. Any undecided voter who received their 401k statement in the mail made their decision - to vote Obama.

McCain vs. Obama: Which Candidate Can You Afford? How Could the Next President Affect Your Financial Plan?

Voyant:

http://www.planwithvoyant.com

I am loving this tool. I created a better plan than my financial planner gave me. I fired him. I'm done with paper financial plans.

Posted by: Mark Edwards | October 20, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

FULL DISCLOSURE. WHO IS SIGNATOR: OBAMA'S FRIEND, CONFIDANT, LOVER? The media has persecuted everyone associated with this campaign, even those not connected with the campaign, like Joe the Plumber. SO WHY THE SILENCE FROM OBAMA? IS THIS MAN HIS DRUGDEALER? HIS GAY LOVER? (Both of those conjectures have been fully revealed by bloggers seeking the truth.) Of course, you won't see these questions posed by the media to OBAMA, because he's "The One" and not to be investigated, questioned or even spoken to directly. Obama is too important, and too FAR ABOVE THE PUBLIC - FAR SUPERIOR TO HIS FELLOW PUBLIC SERVANTS to be so humanely examined. Butl on the other hand, it's just fine for Obama, the media, the sick sycophant bloggers to try to harm a woman of courage and conviction - a family woman, a loving mother, a HUGELY popular governor (imagine an elected official who has maintained their integrity while garnering 80 PERCENT of their public's approval). Silly me......... INTEGRITY IS A WORD NEVER ASSOCIATED WITH OBAMA

Posted by: DemocratForPeace | October 20, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Who can type in ALL CAPS? We all can. Who can spread lies? We all can. Do we? NO WE DON'T.

Posted by: bill from OH | October 20, 2008 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Nodody's done any polling for months in IL-13 yet the media keeps insisting Biggert is still favored to win. Fact is her "deserves re-election" number was only 43% back in June before this financial disaster even hit. If anyone wants to see why the 71 year old Biggert is on her way to her well deserved retirement just watch just watch this 14 minute long mini debate on the local public broadcasting station WTTW in Chicago:

http://www.wttw.com/main.taf?p=42,8,1&pl=New%20Video%202

Watch her. Mrs. Biggert has no answers because her Heritage Foundation talking points are just the radical rightwing ideology that's led us to the brink of ruin. You can see her stop in mid sentence like one of Nixon's spokesman saying "that statement is no longer operable." She's spent 10 years on the Financial Services Committee and that's all she knows about the economy?

Harper knows what he's talking about, he's built a successful business. He's got an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago. Biggert? She's an heiress of two family fortunes. You tell me who'd better represent this district.

Posted by: markg8 | October 20, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

every time a dem is looking to win the Presidentcy...count of a financial crisis...after all washington and the msm have done nothing but talk down the economy and like true pavlovian dogs lead us to believe the Republicans caused it...
one of these days the damage caused by these socialists will not be undone so easily, possibly leading us into a depression, and for what...to put their suit in that office...

Posted by: Dwight | October 21, 2008 7:18 AM | Report abuse

"Of course the economy is helping the Dems. Any undecided voter who received their 401k statement in the mail made their decision - to vote Obama.
McCain vs. Obama: Which Candidate Can You Afford? How Could the Next President Affect Your Financial Plan?
Voyant:
http://www.planwithvoyant.com
I am loving this tool. I created a better plan than my financial planner gave me. I fired him. I'm done with paper financial plans.
Posted by: Mark Edwards | October 20, 2008 12:38 PM"

since you don't know what pelosi and reid have in mind for next year, what obama says is nothing more than fodder...
with no one to stand in their way, they will enact revenge for the low poll numbers Americans have given them...they are pissed and you will pay...

Posted by: Dwight | October 21, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

The paranoid ranting in some of these comments is really frightening. It seems to me that the people who have intelligent things to say are the ones who are talking about real issues and who favor the democrats. After all, the crisis was caused by the republican deregulation (think Phil Gramm) and interest rates that were artificially low (think Alan Greenspan). So, it makes enormous sense to want the republicans OUT.

Posted by: alkatz54 | October 21, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Whie You weak minded liberals are thinking about the crisis, think Franklin Raines and Jim Johnsom who took millions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, by accounting fraud a la Ken Lay at Enron, while guiding them toward bankruptcy. The did it by extending insurance protection to those who took out mortgages they couldn't repay.
If you don't understand that, you deserve whatever the empty suit affirmative action candidate does to you.

Posted by: LarryG | October 21, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Barrack Hussein can't/won't create any new jobs. What's he going to do, MAKE GM and Ford restart their plants? Make every employer hire 10% more people?

But about 16 months after stimulus checks roll out (16 months being the average time for the multiplier effect to take hold), we'll see an uptick in economic activity, thanks to Bush, that Barrack Hussein will gladly take credit for

Posted by: Stick | October 21, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

MOST of those one issue voters
Most of those who fall for the slick one liners

now losing jobs honmes retirement accounts more
have stopped -engaged brain- figured out on which side there bread is buttered.
the dems are for teh people and small business
the gop spends bigger is military and elite
despite the slick sell
its been that way fro a long, long time.

REAGAN SPENT MORE THAN THE ENTIRE 200 YEARS BEFORE HIM
IT JUST wasn't noticed because it DID NOTHING FOR YOU.

Posted by: DC MATTHEWS | October 21, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.
$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$540 billion: Annual U.S. Defense Budget."

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I came to toth u.S. in 1947. From Auschwitz and Buchenwald via France the first free county I ever lived in (for two years). I was eligible to become a US citizen in 1952 but waited till 1956 because at the time McCarthyism was rampant & I wasn't sure I wanted to live here.
Since then I have come to the conclusion that the the GOP is a reactionary organization under the guise of slogans like individual freedom and free enterprise
they hinder indivduls' efforts to advance to the middle class and economic freedom.
That is why I will not vote for Mc Cain, who wants to privatize Social security and picks intellectual light weight like Sarah Palin as his VP. Does she really hunt wolfs from helicopters?
PnK from Boca Raton

Posted by: paul n kassy | October 21, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the economy apparently plays to the Democratic Party...

...but for me, an Independent, the biggest motivator to support Obama and the Dems are the tactics of the McCain-Palin-GOP campaigns. Their statements are simply appalling me to the point, that I'll probably vote every Republican off of my ballot this year.

Posted by: wolf | October 21, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

As a registerd VOTER/VET USAF, I see republicans record as CRIMINAL/FACT!

As a Graduate Student, East Tennessee State University, Master's Program, I see RECORD/REPUBLICANS/DISASTER/MESS/FACT!

As an America, I"m VOTEING FOR BARACK OBAMA!

...."I hope YOU WILL TOO!

...ONe more fact,

..."True Patriotism, "HATES INJUSTICE IN ITS OWN LAND, "MORE THAN ANYWHERE ELSE."
--Clarence Darrow

Posted by: Tommy Birchfield | October 21, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

After watching the video link that was posted on this comment forum, I have to ask the question. The editor for the Chicago Tribune said they want small Government, Transparency, Free Enterprise...
They are endorsing Obama? What part of that doesn't make any sense... Democrat's are all about big Government. Handouts and control.
Understand this by Thomas Jefferson.
"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have"
Hang onto your wallets. There is no money for Obama to go after other then the middle class. Clinton made the same speech when he was running. Two years later, "I didn't say I had tax relations with the middle class" There is already a team of lawyers moving money from the top 1% and hiding from Obama. Just like Bush did about the weapons of mass deception. You telegraph your moves, other moves are made. He is threatening the oil companies with a windfall tax. Jimmy Carter did the same thing. If your old enough, you know we got slammed with higher pump prices.
That just doesn't cut it.
Hers is some stuff to think about if you haven't voted yet.
Question: Which Political Party took Social Security from the Independent 'Trust Fund' and put it into the General Fund so that Congress could spend it.
Answer: Johnson a demo-crap.. and the democratically Controlled House and Senate.
Question: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax Deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding.
Answer: Clinton and Gore The Democratic Party,
Question: Which Political Party decided to start giving Annuity payments to immigrants.
Answer: I love this one! Anybody want to guess? You got it!!!
Jimmy the peanut brain Carter The Demo-crap Party .
Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65, began to receive Social Security payments.
The Democratic Party gave these payments to them, even though they never paid a dime into it.
He also created the famous "Windfall Tax for Oil Companies who then passed onto us...
Just like Obama wants to.
Then, after violating the original contract (FICA), the Democrats turn around and tell you that the Republicans want to take your Social Security away.

One more thing. When the republicans warned the congress about the trouble with Fanny & Mack, the congress controlled said, there is no problem.
In fact, that over sized Barnie Frank said, So what, I wish I could eat and not gain wait. Way to go Barnie...

So when you to go vote, you'll better off voting for Hugo Chavez because that's what you going to get with Obama. Control Control Control. If you married as long as I am, I have enough of that now.

Weep on Democrat's! There will be hell to pay in 4 years.

Posted by: Clear Voice | October 21, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

THE MILLION MAN MARCH WOULD LOOK SMALL IF ALL AMERICANS JUST STOP ON A CERTAIN DATE AND JUST STARTED TO MOVE IN ON WASHINGTON, ALL TRUCK DRIVERS, 18 WHEELER BLOWING HORNS, AND TENS ON TOP OF TENS OF MILLION AMERICANS.

NOW THAT THE REVOLUTION WE NEED. SOMEONE JUST HAS TO GET A DATE ON NATIONAL TV AND TELL ALL THATS CARES THIS IS THE DATE WE ALL GET OUR COUNTRY BACK.

LOCK AND LOAD WE ARE MARCHING DOWN AND TAKE OUR COUNRTY BACK

as mr.poetatohead sec/paulson, has stated.

you cant handle the truth,just give me the money and shut the f up.

america will go under and be in a GREAT DEPRESSION FOR YEARS THEY ARE TALKING AT LEAST 5 YEARS.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH TO ALL THAT JUST WOULD NOT LET THEM FALL..JUST AS THEY HAVE LET TENS OF MILLIONS OF AMERICANS FALL UNDER BANKRUPY. THEY TOO SHOULD OF WANT THAT WAY. PERIOD.....

WERE HAVE A THE TRUE AMERICANS GONE, THE ONES WHO WILL FIGHT FOR AMERICA. WE NEED A REVOLUTION NOW PEOPLE
yep, and the pm in england said we are in a depression and america is right behind us and this will last for many years. not months but years.

so again americans wake up and lets take our country back. vote all reps and senator out of washington that have more than 2 terms in. get them out now.

GOOD. I HOPE THEY ALL FALL.

MAYBE THEN WILL AMERICANS WAKE UP TO THE FACT THAT BUSH AND COMPANY NEEDS TO BE DRAG OUT.

ITS TIME AMERICA FOR A REVOLUTION. TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK.

SO KEEP TAKEING ALL MONEY OUT OF BANKS AND WALLSTREET/ 401,ANY PLACE YOU HAVE IT.

TAKE IT OUT NOW.. MARKET WILL HIT BELOW 6000 WITH IN ONE WEEK.

GET YOUR MONEY NOW

FDIC DOESN'T HAVE THE MONEY TO PROTECT YOU. THE 250000 IF YOU HAVE THAT IN THE BANK, YOU WOULD HAVE TO WAIT 1 TO 2 YEARS BEFORE YOU WOULD SEE ANY. ITS ALL A FRONT.

TAKE ALL MONEY OUT NOW..............................................................................

DAVID A BELANGER
VETERAN
for-america@hotmail.com

THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING PEOPLE,WE WILL GET OUR COUNTRY BACK

Posted by: DAVID | October 22, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

THE PERFECT STORM FOR A DEPRESSION …
A far left Media …
A far left President …
A far left Congress …
A far left Senate …
A far left Supreme Court …
eliminates all the checks and
balances that our democracy is based upon.
A vote for Obama is a vote for voter fraud,
a corrupt media, and the road to Socialism.
God Help Us !!!

Posted by: howard521 | October 23, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

DDDDDDDDDDDDDD!

Posted by: lorddunsmore | October 27, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

You give far too much credit to the economic crises and the notion that Dems are better at handling the economy (even though history proves they are)...

and not nearly enough attention to the MAIN cause of a McCain turn-0ff.

Do you not think most Americans have scrutinized and assessed that John McCain has run the most ill-equipped, inept, chaotic and erratic Presidential campaign in modern history and as a result, we have all come to the conclusion that he would equally be a DISASTER if elected President ???

We do have eyes you know... we actually have been paying attention to these two men and their operations for the past 2 years... The American people is going with organization and efficiency !!!! = Obama

Posted by: nerakami | October 27, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

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