Upon witnessing their voting ally, Richard Lugar, go down in flames Tuesday, Democrats wasted little time before issuing statements that implied that conservatives, by unceremoniously dumping Lugar, were actually hurting themselves.
In an email circulated Tuesday afternoon, DCCC spokesman Matt Canter wrote, “By defeating Dick Lugar and nominating Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party is poised to hand another strong pick-up opportunity for Democrats”.
Meanwhile, Tad Devine, a Democratic strategist said, “If the Senate race turns out to be a moderate Democrat and an out-of-step Republican, moderate voters who regret that they can’t vote for Lugar will help Donnelly.”
Others got into the act as well. Wednesday, Laura Litvan, for Bloomberg.com, wrote, “Yesterday’s victory by Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock in the Republican race improves Democrats’ odds of gaining the Senate seat in November.” She offered no evidence, mind you. In fact, she immediately jumped subjects.
And that’s the point. These double-reverse psychology assertions aren’t built on any evidence, they are just hollow statements based upon the assumption that there is a mass of Democrats waiting to rough up Mourdock in November. If the assumption is wrong, the statements are wrong. Of course, there may be a hoard of Democrats and moderates drooling at the thought of stopping Mourdock’s senate career before it starts. The problem is there is no evidence showing this is the case.
There are two polls in existence pitting Mourdock versus Democrat Joe Donnelly. One, prepared by Wenzel Strategies, shows Mourdock at 44% and Donnelly at 39%. The problem with this poll is that it was paid for by Mourdock fans. So, toss it out. The other poll, a bit more objective, has the race as a tie. But it was taken in March so it’s a little dated.
Interestingly, in my search for polling evidence, I did stumble on Jim Geraghty with The National Review, who quoted Gallop, “latest surveys in Indiana show President Obama’s job approval at 40.1 percent and disapproval at 52.2 percent; 44 percent of the state identifying as Republican (up from 39.6 percent in 2009), 39 percent of the state identifying as Democrat (down from 46 in 2009).”
Here’s something else to consider. Depending on who you ask, Democrats have numerous (anywhere from five to seven) critical elections they need to tend to this year — Bill Nelson, Florida, Jon Tester, Montana, Claire McCaskill, Missouri, and the Brown versus Pocahontas thing up in Massachusetts — to name a few. The reality is Indiana was never on the to-do list. So if things get dicey elsewhere, Donnelly will be among the first to have his funding cut.
So, we have a poll that shows Indiana’s population is surging Republican and it has high dissatisfaction with Obama. The conservative grass-roots element, because of the Mourdock primary, is already well entrenched in the state. If necessary, Democrats will sacrifice Indiana to tend to other critical elections. All this seems to add up to an advantage for Mourdock. So although Donnelly has an opportunity, to claim that it’s a quality opportunity is a stretch.
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