Hoyer: Don’t sound the death knell; Democrats are ‘on the move’ in polls


House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) touted a “resurgence” in Democratic candidates’ standing across the country, and campaign officials highlighted national and local polling data that moved in the party’s favor this week.

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Speaking to reporters at his weekly Capitol briefing, Hoyer trumpeted a recent Gallup poll that gave Democrats a one-point edge over the GOP in a generic candidate comparison. And he chided the media for playing up an August Gallup generic ballot survey that showed a 10-point Republican advantage, saying the latest poll marked a “dramatic” Democratic turnaround.

“That doesn’t sound like a death knell to me. That sounds like a party that’s on the move,” Hoyer said. “I not only don’t think there’s a death knell. I think there’s a resurgence of Democrats throughout the country.”

Hoyer criticized Republicans ahead of a planned Thursday launch of their fall agenda, saying the policies they are rolling out would be the same ones that contributed to what he termed “the worst economy we’ve seen in three-quarters of a century in America.”

“Yes, they want to put a new face with the same policies,” he said, “and I think the American public is going to reject it.”

In addition to the Gallup survey, a Zogby poll released Tuesday gave Democrats a one-point generic ballot edge, reversing a GOP lead from earlier polls. Yet both Gallup and Zogby continued to show a significant enthusiasm gap favoring Republicans, which has fueled predictions that the GOP is primed to retake control of the House — and possibly the Senate — in November.

For weeks, Democrats have tried to rebut the growing sense among the political class in Washington that their party is headed for electoral disaster. The last several days have brought at least of modicum of good news. Fundraising data released early this week showed Democratic committees with a significant cash advantage over their Republican counterparts.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on Tuesday promoted another batch of local polls showing its candidates ahead in several key House races. Those included open-seat races in Delaware, Florida and Arkansas, as well as the campaigns of Democratic incumbent Reps. Jim Marshall (Ga.), Scott Murphy (N.Y.), Michael Arcuri (N.Y.) and Ben Chandler (Ky.).

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The DCCC has been much more assertive in releasing internal polling data than the National Republican Congressional Committee, presenting a somewhat incomplete snapshot of the national landscape. Yet the data offer credence to the Democrats’ argument that while the national political winds are strongly against them, their individual candidates are performing better than the difficult environment would suggest.

While House Democrats were optimistic, the party got a scare on Tuesday on the Senate side, where a Public Policy Polling survey of West Virginia showed the Democratic Senate nominee, Gov. Joe Manchin, trailing Republican John Raese by three points. Democrats are counting on a victory in West Virginia in their quest to retain the Senate, and Manchin had been considered a heavy favorite.