Stanley Greenberg, James Carville and Andrew Baumann
Democracy Corps


Executive Summary

The latest Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner survey of the competitive battleground districts reveals an intensely angry electorate, even more sour on Republicans who have not distanced themselves enough from Bush and are now at risk even at the edge of the current map of competitive congressional seats. Democratic candidates are now ahead by 4 points in the 40 most vulnerable Republican seats, even in the bottom tier. A near majority of 48 percent in these Republican seats say they “can’t vote to re-elect” their Republican incumbent, while Democrats are ahead in the open seats.

Key Findings

  • When Democracy Corps last surveyed these Republican-held Congressional seats in July, the Republicans had made gains, incumbents had protected themselves and we thought the battleground would contract to fewer seats. We were wrong: the opposite has happened. Increased anger about the country and a sharper focus on the economy has damaged Republican incumbents and put even more Republican seats in jeopardy. Democrats are in a position to take half of these seats or more and clearly the battleground extends beyond these 40 districts.
  • The Democrats will lose some seats from the ten most competitive that they currently hold, as Bush carried these seats on average by 14 points in 2004. Though this is very Republican territory, the Democrats are running even in these districts and can carry half of them.


This memo is based on a survey of 1794 likely voters in the 50 most competitive Congressional districts, including 1384 likely voters in the 40 most competitive Republican seats and 400 likely voters in the 10 most competitive Democratic seats. The survey was conducted September 18-23, 2008.