As a liberal Democrat I was delighted to see the latest NPR poll which shows Democrats gaining in the battleground states against Republicans. Although Republicans still hold 47 percent over the Democrats 44 percent, that 3 percent margin is more palatable and beatable than the 8 percent lead Republicans held over Democrats this past June.
It is also refreshing not to keep hearing about the “blood bath” the Democrats will endure in the House in November. Now both parties are fearful of their seats being up for grabs.
So why the change of heart among voters?
Although voters haven’t been polled on that question thus far, I believe the answers would lie in voters hearing the truth from the candidates rather than 60-second sensationalistic sound bites of mudslinging in the ads. Recently there have been numerous debates. Two that stand out most in my mind are Delaware and West Virginia. In both of those states, the Democratic candidates gained 2 percentage points after the debate with their opponents. In Delaware, Democrat Chris Coons led GOPer Christine O’Donnell by 9 percentage points a few weeks ago; now according to Rasmussen he has an 11 percent lead over O’Donnell. And in West Virginia, where Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin is trailing Republican candidate John Raese, Manchin gained 2 percentage points after his debate with his opponent.
I believe the voters are hearing from the Democrats themselves. They’re hearing the truth from these candidates. Whether it is where they stand on healthcare, why they voted for it, what they like and don’t like about the bill, and what they want to do moving forward. And I think that voters are tired of Republicans telling them that how much like Obama the Democrats are. As Joe Manchin correctly reminded Mr. Raese and the voters in West Virginia: The president isn’t running in this election.
I believe the voters are tired of the rhetoric and want the facts. I think the debates are showing the candidates’ true colors, their true stand on the issues, and how much knowledge they have to hold the office they’re running for. John Raese claimed he doesn’t side with Obama or Bush, yet look at his record and his stance on the issues past and present--it’s got G.W. written all over it. Or Carl Paladino walking out for a bathroom break in the middle of the gubernatorial candidate’s debate in New York--he wants to be governor!? Or Christine O’Donnell not aware of what the First Amendment states regarding our government and religion.
Telling voters that Democrats voted for “Obamacare” might have worked for awhile, but that doesn’t seem to be the case now. The voters want specifics. Just saying you’re not in favor of healthcare reform isn’t enough. Saying you’ll create jobs is great, but voters want to know how. And using the names Obama and Pelosi often doesn’t cut it either. The voters are getting smarter and America will be better for it.
I’d tell the Republicans to get some new material, but I’m enjoying the percentage points Democrats are gaining from this rhetoric far too much!