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Carville & Greenberg's Advice

Very interesting strategy memo from James Carville and Stan Greenberg released yesterday. The gents from Democracy Corps begin by saying:

We are on the verge of a change election that can produce major Democratic gains. Indeed, this new national Democracy Corps survey suggests that voters are prepared for an upheaval and change of party control, if the challengers define this election, run as outsiders and show voters where they would take the country. Right now, Democrats are underperforming, but voters are listening and receptive to them, and ready to respond to an effective campaign.

Carville and Greenberg go on to cite intense public dissatisfaction with the direction of the country under President Bush (as measured in their latest poll) as one of the main Democratic advantages this year and argue that the data indicates Democrats are just a bit shy of where they need to be to recapture control of Congress.

"The voters want to give the Democrats a bigger margin than they are currently achieving," Carville and Greenberg write. "If the challenger campaigns are effective, they can catch this wave."

But then Carville and Greenberg sound the following warning:

If the Democrats and challengers fail to show voters something more, this disillusionment could show itself in fragmentation to smaller parties and more likely, a stay-at-home protest. The current measures of potential Democratic turnout and enthusiasm are not impressive. And while it is likely that a low turnout election will hurt Republicans more than Democrats, a stay-away protest vote could also cut into the margin Democrats might have achieved.

There has been no improvement in feelings about the Democrats in this change environment; in fact positive views of the party have actually declined over the past few months, with negative assessments slightly higher than positive ones.

Read the whole memo here (pdf). Full poll data available here (pdf).