Clinton pollster says if election were held today, 1994 would repeat

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg said Wednesday that if the 2010 election were held today, his party would be faced with a similar result to its catastrophic 1994 losses.

Greenberg, who was Bill Clinton's pollster in the early 1990s, went on to say that he doesn’t think the current situation will hold over the next seven months, and that he expects things will improve for Democrats.

“We’re on the edge of it, but we’re not there. If the election were now, we’d have a change election, a 1994,” he said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “If the election were now, you would be there.”

But Greenberg also noted a series of differences between now and 1994, including the Republican Party being held in higher regard back then.

Polling shows the GOP brand languishing as low as, and in some cases lower than, the Democratic one.

Greenberg said Republicans already experienced their 1994-like election with the Massachusetts race Sen. Scott Brown (R) won in January, and that things are likely to get better for his party after the passage of healthcare reform.

“We’ll look back on this and say Massachusetts is when 1994 happened,” Greenberg said. “It will be marginally better than it is now, but I don’t think it’s 1994.”

Greenberg and Democratic consultant James Carville were releasing a new Democracy Corps poll that shows Democratic enthusiasm rebounding a little in the aftermath of the healthcare bill.

But Carville and Greenberg said the GOP will almost surely take an enthusiasm advantage into the 2010 election, and Carville worried aloud that the new electorate would be a much better one for the GOP.

Carville noted that the 2008 electorate was about 72 percent white, while the projected 2010 voters are expected to be 76 percent white.

“If you look at intensity questions, they do have more intensity,” Carville said. “The good news after health care is that ours went up. They don’t match, but they went up.”

Greenberg said it is a matter of how close Democratic intensity can get to GOP intensity, but that he doesn’t expect them to match.

“This is a structural, long-term problem,” he said. “There is a very strong, deep homogeneous opposition to the president.”