With polls showing the Republicans on the rebound, and with conservatives driving to win state governorships this fall and cut Democratic majorities in Congress in next year’s midterm elections, the stakes of the health care fight just got higher. If Obama can’t win a little something in the health insurance battle, he’ll be portrayed as a flop by the GOP in the midst of an election season. But if he wins even a token victory, right-wing attack dogs can pick apart the details of the final plan—or simply paint him as a socialist with a secret plan to "kill Granny” by rationing health care. Tuesday’s Washington Times lays out the opportunity for Republicans:
"It would be hard to envision a political landscape as tilted against Republicans as it was in 2006 and 2008. There is now a body of polling data to suggest that the generic congressional ballot has closed. In the NBC/Wall Street Journal, Democrats have a seven-point advantage, the smallest it's been since April of 2006," said Jennifer Duffy, senior elections analyst at the Cook Political Report.
In particular, the GOP is looking for gains in the Connecticut Democratic Senate race, where incumbent Christopher Dodd, long under attack as a shill for the finance industry and now facing prostate surgery, finds himself tied or trailing GOP challengers.
In Pennsylvania, the GOP hopes voters are taking a more skeptical look at Arlen Specter since he switched to the Democratic Party—taking heart in a recent Quinnipiac University poll that "showed that he is in a dead heat with former Rep. Pat Toomey, the expected Republican nominee.’’
The Washington Times goes on to cite data from Gallup, which said last week, "at this early stage, 2010 does not look like it is shaping up to be as strong a Democratic year as 2006 was, and that could make it difficult for the party to hold onto the gains it made in the 2006 midterm and 2008 presidential elections."