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Brownstein: GOP Takes One Step Forward, One Step Back

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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 10:05 AM
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Brownstein: GOP Takes One Step Forward, One Step Back
"Democrats are unlikely to recapture a majority unless they can crack the Republican dominance in red-leaning states."

GOP Takes One Step Forward, One Step Back
With Roberts sworn in, conservative gains may look enduring. But falling poll numbers could signal a weakness in Republican strategy.
By Ronald Brownstein Times Staff Writer September 30, 2005

WASHINGTON <snip>In some respects, the GOP appears close to establishing a lasting political edge not seen since the days of President McKinley more than a century ago with interlocking advantages that create formidable barriers to a Democratic resurgence.

But approval ratings in polls for the GOP-controlled Congress and President Bush are similar to those for the Democratic-controlled Congress and President Clinton prior to the 1994 electoral landslide that put the GOP in charge of the House and the Senate.

The most important may be the continued shift of population toward the Southern and western red states where the GOP is strongest. After the 2000 census, seven electoral college votes shifted from blue states that Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore won that year to states that Bush carried. <snip>

Each party controls about three-fifths of the House seats in the states it carried in the last two presidential elections. Just as the population tilt is fueling electoral college gains for the GOP in their Sun Belt strongholds, it is also increasing those states' representation in the House.<snip>

"Democrats have a lot of issues they can work with," said Merle Black, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. "But right now, about the only thing the Republicans have going for them is distrust of the Democrats."<snip>

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