A recent study by the Wall St. Journal and Zogby gives Democrats good news and bad news. The good news is that Democrats are in a good position to hold the open US Senate Seats (currently held by retiring Dems) in Maryland and Minnesota. If Senate elections were held today Democrats would unseat GOP incumbents in Ohio and Pennsylvania (DeWine and Santorum) but would lose the seat formerly held by Corzine in New Jersey.
The Senate would only be 54-46 GOP after the 2006 election as things stand now.
There is evidence that the days of a GOP controlled House are numbered. Teixiera writes: “However, asked which party’s candidates they preferred for U.S. Senate races, respondents in a poll of LV’s by Democracy Corps conducted 1/4-8, favored Dems by a 14 point margin.
Zogby didn’t address races in the House of Reps. But the DCorps poll suggests that Dems could win the 15 seats needed to gain a majority in the House. Asked which party they would vote for in their congressional district, respondents favored Democrats by a margin of 50-40 percent. Other polls taken in January by Harris, Hotline, Gallup and AP show leads for Dems of 9, 7, 7 and 13 percent respectively.”
More than anything else I want the House back. But we can’t go losing seats in blue states. Zogby also has some good news on the gubernatorial homefront: “Democrats are leading in the races for governor in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa, though Iowa and Wisconsin are very tight contests.”
“In statehouse races, Democrats are also leading due to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California struggles and the pending retirement of Republican George Pataki, who steps down after 12 years in New York. Democrats are also leading in gubernatorial races in Maryland and Massachusetts, where Republicans now hold the governors’ mansions.”
A word of caution should be made about Maryland. Yes we Marylanders are a blue state bunch (we gave Kerry 57% of our votes). Recently a Baltimore Circuit Court declared Maryland’s ban on gay marriage unconstiutional. While visitors to this blog will no doubt agree with the MD. Circuit Court’s ruling, a report in today’s Washington Post demonstrates that there is the slight possibility that this could be used to seperate some black voters from the Democratic Party.
“Maryland’s African American lawmakers are deeply divided in the emerging debate over same-sex marriage, which forces them to balance their communities’ bedrock religious convictions against a traditional commitment to civil rights.
In the short time since a Baltimore circuit court declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, black Democrats in the General Assembly have reached consensus only on one thing: They don’t want the matter put to a vote.
“We’ve been discussing it ever since the court issued its opinion,” said Del. Joanne C. Benson (D-Prince George’s). “There is a split. And no easy way to resolve it.” It should be pointed out that 27.7% of Marylanders are black-a higher percent of a state’s population that any other state in the Union outside the Deep South. 40% of Marylanders overall are nonwhite.
No one in the progressive community needs to be lectured about how the Republicans were able to use gay marriage as a means of distracting voters in the 2004 Election. At the same time many economic progressives don’t deny that civil rights are meant for all, regardless of sexual orientation. But given Dems tenuous position in New Jersey, and that Dems need to do a better job of not only winning state elections in battleground states but also in blue states, the questions must be raised: Should Dems forget these social issues for just this year? How can Dems increase their prospects in Senate races? Finally, is it too late to recruit Springsteen to run for Senate in New Jersey? The musician in me (I minored in music-no pun intended) might be upset, but the Democrat in me would not be.