A Closer Look At NY-9

September 9, 2011 9:39 a.m.

A couple of corrective data points on the NY-9 race, where Democrats seemed primed for a big defeat come Tuesday.

I mentioned yesterday how heavily Democratic this district is. That’s true in general. There’s a 3:1 Democratic to Republican voter registration there. But Obama only won 55 percent of the vote here in 2008, which is relatively low for a NYC district and was actually worse than John Kerry performed there in 2004. So it’s not one of those hardcore Democratic havens in the city. That doesn’t mean Democrats should lose there, but it does make it somewhat more susceptible to the prevailing political climate.

The second data point comes from a closer look at the polling numbers coming out of the district. Respondents there overwhelmingly think the country is on the wrong track, and Obama’s approval ratings are in the tank. “It’s hard for Democrats to win open seat races in places where Obama’s that unpopular,” PPP polling director Tom Jensen tells TPM.

The upshot is that while the Democratic candidate is far from the ideal candidate, it would be a mistake to pin the blame for this loss (if it turns out to be a loss) entirely on him. The district is a better bellwether than I realized, and a loss here would paint a very bleak picture for Democrats going into 2012.

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