Your Morning Dose of Democratic Doom and Panic

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 7 2010 9:09 AM

Your Morning Dose of Democratic Doom and Panic

The majority party begins the real campaign season with its worst poll numbers in living memory. I can sum up the ABC/WaPo and NBC polls quickly for you: No one thinks the economy's recovering, very few people think Democrats are helping, and most people are willing to give Republican candidates the chance to do... something about it. In the ABC poll, a generic Republican leads a generic Democrat by 13 points among likely voters. That narrows to a 2-point lead among registered voters, and the first conclusion you'd draw from that all Democrats need to do to survive is get their base excited about hitting the polls. Obviously, that would help them. But like I keep saying, this was the Democratic plan for 2010:

1) Health care bill is passed and becomes more popular as people receive the benefits.
2) Economy recovers and stimulus money starts showing real impact.

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If that isn't happening, what is the Democratic comeback scenario? And if you're a Democrat, do you break out the defibrillator and try to convince people that their local economy is turning around because of legislation X, Y, and Z, or do you rev up the base by saying that the new Republican majority wants to use the bad economy as an excuse for more tax cuts and deep entitlement cuts? Clearly the Democrats are opening the second door, hence all of the attention on Paul Ryan's austerity "roadmap."

If you're a Democrat, you want to ignore the polls, hope for a turnaround in the next two months, and check out Politico's race breakdowns , which reveal that the embattled Democrats have plenty of money... and poring through the names I recognize some in deep red territory who are up in public polls. But Democrats used to think the next two months would be great for them. Now?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.