From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Jon Cornyn, chairman of the NRSC, says things are looking up for the GOP.
He has penned a memo to Republican senators and candidates, touting what he sees as an improved environment for Republican candidates in next year's elections.
"As the calendar turns to 2010, we find ourselves running in a markedly improved political environment from the difficult 2006 and 2008 election cycles," Cornyn writes in part in the memo being sent out today. "Americans are alarmed at the overreach of the Democrat-controlled government, and its massive price tag that has driven our national debt to an all-time high. While Senate Democrats push forward with their costly health care legislation, they are rapidly losing the support of the American public. The Democrats' massive health care bill, coupled with their support for out-of-control government spending, are quickly developing into potent political issues for us, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that voters are fully informed of their Democrat Senators' and would-be Senators' support of a critical issue opposed by the majority of their constituents."
Cornyn also highlights improvements in places like Nevada, Ohio and Colorado (though some of the backup is from polls with methodologies First Read does not endorse.)
*** UPDATE *** The DSCC's Eric Schultz responds, "Republicans presided for eight years in Washington as health care costs skyrocketed. Voters watched the Bush administration and Republican-held Congress do absolutely nothing to fix it. Democrats were elected in large numbers in 2006 and 2008 to change that. Just like the economy, Republicans are not only betting against the President, but they're betting against the country. They don't want the economy to get better and they don't want health care costs to come down. At a very basic level, that is not a winning argument. It is bad politics, but it is also wrong on the merits. This approach is why they lost so badly in 2006, in 2008, and are not well positioned for 2010. But don't take my word it. Republicans in Congress have the lowest approval ratings in decades – and they've earned it by doing nothing but trying to block reform. Today's memo confirms they learned zero lessons from 2006 and 2008."
The full letter after the jump:
To: Republican Senators and Candidates
From: John Cornyn, NRSC Chairman
Date: December 11, 2009
Re: Health Care's Impact On The 2010 Senate Landscape
In recent weeks, we have watched as Majority Leader Harry Reid has struggled to unify his deeply divided caucus, repeatedly modifying the health care legislation in a so-far-unsuccessful attempt to satisfy both the liberal and moderate wings of his party. During that time, a series of polls have consistently demonstrated that Americans oppose the Democrats' plans for health care by a wide margin. With the holidays and the 2010 calendar year rapidly approaching, I wanted to quickly update you on the political fallout of the Democrats' health care bill heading into next year's elections.
This morning, Resurgent Republic, the organization headed by Whit Ayres and Ed Gillespie, released a new national survey indicating voters 55 and older "strongly reject" every component of the Democrats' health care proposal. This finding obviously does not bode well for the Democrats' chances in 2010, and undercuts their rationale that NOT passing health care will hurt them at the polls. In fact, today's findings indicate the exact opposite.
A national Quinnipiac poll released this week shows voters strongly disapprove of the Obama-Reid health care bill by an overwhelming margin of 52 - 38 percent. In fact, according to John Fund in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, the Democrats' current health care proposals are even more unpopular than HillaryCare was one year into the Clinton presidency. In December 1993, only 32 percent of Americans opposed the Clinton health care plan according to a Gallup poll. The unpopular health care initiatives' of a Democrat-run White House and Congress played a major role in the Republican sweep of the 1994 elections, and it is reasonable to conclude that history could repeat itself in 2010.
The headlines are not helping the Democrats' cause either. A major story in today's New York Times declares "High Premiums In Senate Democrats' Health Plan," while the Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services recently estimated that total national health expenditures under the Democrats' bill would increase by approximately $234 billion between 2010-2019.
These trends are not limited to national polls, as recent surveys from battleground states across the country have confirmed the unpopularity of the Democrat health care bill at the state-wide level:
· Perhaps no Democrat incumbent has more riding on the health care bill than Majority Leader Reid. With his approval numbers already mired well below 50 percent, Reid has taken ownership of the government-run legislation – his colleagues have referred to him as the "quarterback." But support for Reid's bill is upside down with his constituents in Nevada, as a poll commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal shows only 39 percent of voters approving while 53 percent oppose, including 53 percent of independent voters.
· In the very blue state of Delaware, Public Policy Polling released a survey showing Mike Castle with a six-point lead over his potential Democrat opponent, despite the Democrats' best efforts to attack Castle after he voted against the Democrat bill that passed the House in November. Even in the Vice President's home state, more people oppose the health care bill (46 percent) than support it (43 percent). In light of these findings, The Hill ran an article with the headline "Poll shows health care vote didn't hurt Castle."
· In the perennial bellwether state of Ohio, a Rasmussen poll yesterday showed a wide disapproval gap among voters for the Democrats' health care bill with 53 percent opposed versus only 41 percent who support it. Not surprisingly, Republican candidates in both the Senate and gubernatorial races lead their respective Democrat opponents.
· In Colorado, the unelected Michael Bennet has staked his political future on the success of his colleagues' health care bill, telling CNN he would vote for the legislation even it "cost him his job." If today's data from Rasmussen are any indicator, Bennet may soon face this reality, as 55 percent of Colorado voters oppose the health care plan, and only 45 percent support it. Remember, Colorado is by no means a solid conservative state where such data would be unsurprising. The state has been trending blue in recent years; in fact President Obama carried the state by 9 percentage points last year.
As the calendar turns to 2010, we find ourselves running in a markedly improved political environment from the difficult 2006 and 2008 election cycles. Americans are alarmed at the overreach of the Democrat-controlled government, and its massive price tag that has driven our national debt to an all-time high. While Senate Democrats push forward with their costly health care legislation, they are rapidly losing the support of the American public. The Democrats' massive health care bill, coupled with their support for out-of-control government spending, are quickly developing into potent political issues for us, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that voters are fully informed of their Democrat Senators' and would-be Senators' support of a critical issue opposed by the majority of their constituents.
More importantly for the future of our country, we are on the verge of preventing the Democrats' from putting the federal government in charge of the world's best health care system. If the Democrats' bill were to pass, it would not only put Washington bureaucrats between the American public and their doctors, but also add another $2.5 trillion to our already out-of-control federal deficit, slash half-a-trillion dollars from Medicare, raise taxes by $400 billion and increase premiums for the majority of Americans.
The good news is the American people agree with our step-by-step approach of reforming health care by bringing down costs without a government-takeover. We have the American people on our side. If we continue to stand together in opposition to the Democrats' bill, we can then start the process of enacting the meaningful and sensible health care reform our country needs.