Are congressional Republicans doomed?

It's still early, but a poll that shows the party's leader in the Senate trailing his Democratic challenger could spell trouble.

By Alex Koppelman
May 28, 2008 9:25PM (UTC)
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Here's my latest video for our partners at Current. In it, I discuss poll results Rasmussen released Tuesday showing that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is trailing his challenger, Democrat Bruce Lunsford, by 5 percentage points.

As I say in the video, it's early yet for polls like this, so this one may not have any real meaning. But one of the typical errors you see in polls this far out is that voters tend to go with the candidate who has the most name recognition -- clearly, an incumbent who leads his party in the Senate should have plenty of that, but it's apparently not enough help at the moment.


This is just another in a string of trouble signs that have struck some fear in the hearts of congressional Republicans lately. Also on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal published an Op-Ed by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in which he argued that the way for Republicans to come back to power is to return to conservative values. This isn't a new argument -- hardcore conservatives were saying immediately after the 2006 election that the Republicans' big losses were due to a failure to adhere to the movement's ideological principles -- but I'm not yet convinced it has any merit. We can debate the merits of the argument that President Bush has strayed from the governing philosophy conservatives would have liked to see him follow, but that's a pretty wonky debate, and it's a hard one to sum up and sell to voters.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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