Stan Greenberg, James Carville, and Andrew Baumann
Democracy Corps



Executive Summary

The new Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner survey of the most competitive Republican-held battleground districts finds Democrats maintaining their surprise lead as the mood of the nation continues to sour.Democratic candidates are now ahead by 3 points in the 40 most vulnerable Republican seats, virtually unchanged from a week ago.

Key Findings

  • While Democrats have expanded their advantage in the eighteen open seats included in this 40-district battleground, Republican incumbents have seen a slight improvement in their standing, perhaps because of their near universal opposition to the Wall Street bailout.
  • Their approval ratings have ticked up along with scores on several important attributes.As a result, these incumbents have pulled even with their Democratic challengers.Despite this modest improvement, these long-time Republican incumbents remain in serious jeopardy, sporting still-dismal approval ratings and only managing a draw against lesser-known challengers in a Republican-leaning battleground.
  • The Democrats’ edge does not extend far beyond this 40-seat battleground.In the next ten most competitive Republican seats, Republicans still maintain a substantial advantage, largely driven by the greater Republican tilt, better positioned incumbents and weaker challengers. If the political environment continues to erode for the GOP this may change, but for now these Republicans in this outer tier do not appear to be in grave danger.


This memo is based on a survey of 1600 likely voters in the 50 most competitive Republican-held Congressional districts. It was conducted September 29 - October 2, 2008.