Democrats Poised to Make Historic Gains In Swing Mountain West Districts

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With a week to go before Election Day, Democrats are on the verge of making historical gains in Mountain West Congressional districts. With the huge gains Democrats are making in the Mountain West, they should work hard to capitalize on their progress and permanently realign this region that until recently had been reliably conservative and Republican. If Democrats can continue to build on their success here, then they can turn the Mountain West blue for years, which can help realign the country in their favor.


According to a new survey by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research as part of our in-depth research in Mountain West states, Democrats are on the brink of making historic gains in swing Mountain West Congressional districts.

Four years ago in these 11 targeted districts, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry lost by 15 points and Democratic Congressional candidates lost by an average of 23 points. Now, however, a sea change has occurred as Obama is nearly tied with McCain (trailing by just thee points – 45% to 48%) and Democrats lead in the aggregate vote (50% to 45% in the named Congressional vote). Even more encouraging is the fact that Democratic candidates lead in districts currently held by a Republican (48% to 47%).

With both the Democratic presidential candidate and Democratic Congressional candidates making such major strides from four years ago, we believe this represents a cultural shift. Voters in these districts are now seriously supporting Democrats for federal offices, including president, many for the very first time. This is an important point, because in recent elections, Democrats had made gains at the state level in this region, notably for governor and state legislature, but there remained a gap between state performance and federal performance. This poll shows that Democrats have closed this gap and are now breaking through at the federal level as well.

Democrats still have work to do as some of their recent gains are still soft and are by no means assured. To lock in their gains, Democrats must focus on the economy. Specifically, they need to emphasize changing our energy policy and developing more alternative energy sources and the jobs that it would bring. In addition, Democrats should tout their fiscal conservatism and their commitment to balancing the budget and cutting wasteful spending.

Analysis: Democratic Congressional Candidates Pull Ahead; Obama Competitive

Democrats are on the brink of making historic gains in swing Mountain West Congressional districts. Four years ago in these 11 targeted districts, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry lost by 15 points and Democratic Congressional candidates lost by an average of 23 points. Now, however, a sea change has occurred as Obama is nearly tied with McCain (trailing by just thee points – 45 – 48 percent) and Democrats lead in the aggregate vote (50 – 45 percent in the named Congressional vote). Even more encouraging is the fact that Democratic candidates lead in districts currently held by a Republican (48 – 47 percent).

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