Nagourney Sees Echoes of 1994 GOP Takeover

The Times gets excited about its latest poll's good news for Democrats: "The disdain for Congress is as intense as it has been since 1994...

The latest CBS/NYT poll is reported out in Thursday's lead story by Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder: "Only 25% In Poll Voice Approval of the Congress - An Echo of 1994 Findings - Links to Special Interests Are Cited - Standing of Bush Also Lags."

Nagourney and his headline writer see parallels to the 1994 Republican sweep of Congress, an event, incidentally, that the Times never saw coming, and certainly didn't anticipate as eagerly as it nowdoes a Democratic reclamation.

"With barely seven weeks until the midterm elections, Americans have an overwhelmingly negative view of the Republican-controlled Congress, with substantial majorities saying that they disapprove of the job it is doing and that its members do not deserve re-election, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

"The disdain for Congress is as intense as it has been since 1994, when Republicans captured 52 seats to end 40 years of Democratic control of the House and retook the Senate as well. It underlines the challenge the Republican Party faces in trying to hold on to power in the face of a surge in anti-incumbent sentiment."

There's a reality check a bit later: "What is more, it seems highly unlikely Democrats will experience a sweep similar to the one Republicans experienced in 1994. Most analysts judge only about 40 House seats to be in play at the moment, compared with over 100 seats in play at this point 12 years ago, in large part because redistricting has created more safe seats for both parties."


"In the poll, 50 percent said they would support a Democrat in the fall Congressional elections, compared with 35 percent who said they would support a Republican. But the poll found that Democrats continued to struggle to offer a strong case for turning government control over to them; only 38 percent said the Democrats had a clear plan for how they would run the country, compared with 45 percent who said the Republicans had offered a clear plan."

Tom Maguire has more on the Times' omnipresent optimism regarding Democrats, and Dean Barnett has some more mockery of Nagourney, who TimesWatch has often cited for his unduly pessimistic outlook over Republican prospects.

There's also the USA Today/Gallup poll that paints Republican chances in much brighter hues, which the Times explains away by saying, "Presidential addresses often produce shifts in public opinion that tend to be transitory."