The Democrats' final push to woo undecided voters appears to have fizzled, potentially putting dozens of competitive House races beyond reach and undermining the party's chances in at least four toss-up Senate seats, according to party strategists and officials.Independents, a crucial swing bloc, seem to be breaking sharply for Republicans in the final days of the campaign.One nonpartisan prognosticator, Stuart Rothenberg, said Friday he thought the Republicans could pick up as many as 70 House seats—something no party has achieved since 1948. The Republicans need 39 seats to take the majority. Fading Democratic support among independents is also keeping alive the GOP's longer-shot hopes of taking the Senate.President Barack Obama planned to make a campaign stop Friday evening in Virginia, and stops this weekend in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio, to drum up support for congressional candidates. He triumphed in 2008 by attracting significant numbers of independents in key swing states.Party strategists say their biggest problem now is swing voters' frustration with the president, prompting some to start fretting about the impact of this disenchantment on the 2012 elections.Democratic pollster David Beattie said independents were voting against Democrats because of Mr. Obama. The Democrats "are being called 'Obama liberals,' and it's working," Mr. Beattie said. "This race is all about President Obama."Nationally, independent voters, who backed Democrats in 2006 and 2008, have swung to the GOP. In the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 52% said they would vote Republican next week. The survey found Mr. Obama, who won 52% of independents nationally in 2008, has a job-approval rating of just 40% among that group.
Monday, November 1, 2010
From Peter Wallsten and Neil King Jr. of The Wall Street Journal on Oct. 30: