Republicans are suddenly buoyant about fall election chances
The roller-coaster mood swings of Republican strategists are surging back with growing confidence that the fall elections won't be the disaster for the party that Democrats are predicting.
Buoyed by President Bush's two-week bump up in the polls, a congressional victory in California, and new polling that finds Republicans holding their own or challenging in races Democrats have focused on, some strategists are reviewing their earlier expectations of major losses in the House, Senate, and statehouses.
A recent surprise poll that has Republicans hopeful came in the Michigan gubernatorial race where Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is now behind GOP challenger Dick DeVos.
Just three months ago Granholm held a 17 percent lead and last fall was up by 23 percent.
But a May EPIC-MRA poll put DeVos ahead 46 percent to 45 percent, and a newer poll has him leading by 8 percent, 48 to 40. "Looks like we may steal a big governorship from the Dems in Michigan!" a Bush adviser e-mailed.
"That would be sweet. Could also be important for '08 and the ability of our GOP nominee to win this state," he added. Democrats, however, are not looking at defeat there, and say that Granholm is just starting to take on DeVos.
Still, the Republicans are not depressed anymore and are "starting to rise to the battle," said a Republican National Committee insider, who explained that last week's trip by President Bush to Iraq and the clearing of Karl Rove in the CIA spy case have boosted GOP spirits.
Some GOP officials, however, warn against too-early celebration. "Things have finally gone our way for two weeks," said a Republican official, "but we don't want to overstate this." The official said GOP strategists are cautious because they fear the expectations for a comeback will rise too high and could be dashed with any unexpected bad news in the coming weeks.
Another said "we've simply gone from being in reverse to being in neutral." Said another, until three weeks ago "there had been an uneasiness in our circles. This gives people a feeling that things are changing, that's all."