By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
The election environment has turned so ugly for Democrats that one of their most celebrated election advisers is suggesting days of prayer and pure luck to hold off a fall disaster.
Asked what he'd advise Democrats up for election to do, James Carville says, "I'd probably get them to say—being a Catholic—a couple of Novenas," a reference to the Catholic nine-day period of private or public prayer to obtain special graces, to implore special favors, or to make special petitions.
Democracy Corps partner and pollster Stanley Greenberg explained why: If the House election were held today, "we'd have a change election." Meaning the GOP would take control.
They and other Democratic analysts say that even with healthcare reform passed, the public is disgruntled with Washington and the party that runs it. The two say voters are OK with healthcare reform, but are much more eager for jobs and jobs programs. In focus groups held by Greenberg, Americans have asked why the Democrats haven't been as preoccupied with jobs as with healthcare.
The duo today issued a new poll that revealed yet another problem for Democrats: Americans are angered with the deficit and are talking about it all the time. Some 74 percent, said the Democracy Corps-Tulane University poll, talk about the deficit with friends and family. And 93 percent say it's a crisis or major problem. Americans think that it should be addressed with spending cuts, not taxes, but disagree on specific cuts.
And the bad news doesn't end there. Traditional Democratic voters like unmarried women and blacks are getting socked with unemployment. "Pessimism has jumped"among those groups, said the poll.
Plus, Democrats have lost ground on whom voters trust to fix the economy. Democrats now hold a 13-point advantage on the question of who would fix the deficit and an 11-point advantage on which party would cut spending best.
To get out of this mess, Carville has a prescription. First, he says that the political environment has to somehow change so that it isn't so negative toward Democrats. Second, the Democrats have to warn that even while voters might not like President Obama's "two steps forward" on major policy initiatives, they'd hate if the GOP took "three steps back." Third, the Democrats have to boost their voter intensity, something that has started to rise since the passage of healthcare reform. If that happens, the fall midterm election losses could be held to six Senate seats and 25 House seats, he says.