Top Democrats are growing markedly more pessimistic about holding the House, privately conceding that the summertime economic and political recovery they were banking on will not likely materialize by Election Day.
In conversations with more than two dozen party insiders, most of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of play, Democrats in and out of Washington say they are increasingly alarmed about the economic and polling data they have seen in recent weeks.
They no longer believe the jobs and housing markets will recover â€“ or that anything resembling the White Houseâ€™s promise of a â€œrecovery summerâ€ is under way. They are even more concerned by indications that House Democrats once considered safe â€“ such as Rep. Betty Sutton, who occupies an Ohio seat that President Barack Obama won with 57 percent of the vote in 2008 â€“ are in real trouble.
In two close races, endangered Democrats are even running ads touting how they oppose their leadership.
â€œDemocrats kept thinking: â€˜Weâ€™re going to get better. Weâ€™re going to get well before the election,â€™â€ said one of Washingtonâ€™s best-connected Democrats. â€œBut as of this week, you now have people saying that Republicans are going to win the House. And now itâ€™s starting to look like the Senate is going to be a lot closer than people thought.â€
A Democratic pollster working on several key races said, â€œThe reality is that [the House majority] is probably gone.â€ His data shows the Democratsâ€™ problems are only getting worse. â€œItâ€™s spreading,â€ the pollster said.
Not all Democrats â€“ or Republicans, for that matter â€“ share this pessimistic assessment 68 days before the election. Republicans need to pick up 39 seats, and polls show most voters still have a downbeat view of the GOPâ€™s ability to govern any better than Democrats. Republicans have been out-raised and out-spent at the national level and in many of the key races.
â€œWe have been saying for the past 18 months this will be a politically challenging environment,â€ said Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. â€œThat being said, we will retain the majority in the House. All of what you are hearing is the inside-the-beltway chatter.â€
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/41469.html#ixzz0xiPdjnQR
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