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Computer perks help incumbents; redistricting hinders Dem House takeover [View All]

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-07-06 10:26 AM
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Computer perks help incumbents; redistricting hinders Dem House takeover
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WP,pg1: Technology Sharpens the Incumbents' Edge
Redistricting Also Complicates Democrats' Effort to Take Control of House
By Jim VandeHei and Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, June 7, 2006; Page A01

....In one of the lesser-known perks of power on Capitol Hill, lawmakers are using taxpayer-funded databases to cultivate constituents more attentively than ever. (Republican incumbent Steve Chabot) -- a six-term legislator from Cincinnati who finds himself imperiled this year after years of easy races -- has a list of e-mail addresses of people who are most interested in tax cuts. His office recently hit the send button on a personal message to alert them to the congressman's support for extending tax breaks on dividends and capital gains.

Chabot's computer is one factor to keep in mind when assessing the odds that Republicans will get evicted this November from their 12-year majority in the House. Anti-incumbent sentiment, as measured by polls and voter interviews, is stronger than it has been in years. But so, too, are certain structural advantages that overwhelmingly favor incumbents....

***

One way to think of this midterm election year, analysts say, is a collision between a wave and a wall.

The wave overwhelmingly favors Democrats: an unpopular war in Iraq, job approval ratings for President Bush at record lows, corruption scandals that have engulfed GOP congressional leaders, and polls showing voters favoring Democrats and their positions on the issues by distinct margins.

But Republicans still benefit from the wall: a long-term trend that for years has led to steadily fewer competitive districts....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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