It has to be an anomaly. Doesn’t it?

With Republicans’ and Democrats’ support for their own party’s candidates holding steady in the low 90s this past week, independents are primarily responsible for Democrats’ improved positioning. Thirty-nine percent of independents favor the Democratic candidate in their district, up from 34% — although slightly more, 43%, still favor the Republican…

It’s possible the increased voter support for Democratic candidates this past week is linked with the Wall Street regulatory reform bill that passed in the U.S. Senate last Thursday, July 15. The financial reform bill is the second-biggest piece of legislation to get through Congress this year, after healthcare reform, and it enjoyed majority support. According to a USA Today/Gallup poll in June, 55% of Americans were in favor of legislation expanding government regulation of financial institutions — including 72% of Democrats and 56% of independents. Only Republicans were generally opposed.

Huh. I thought that the public had completely tuned out the financial reform bill. I suppose, from a pure messaging standpoint, the Dems can do worse than “We’re sticking it to the fatcats!” even if no one’s quite sure just how they’re sticking it to them.

The gruesome numbers:

I hope this is a financial reform bounce since then it’s bound to evaporate within a week or two. But is it? The House passed FinRef on June 30; as you can see from the graph, the Dems were still trending downwards after the first of the month. Then the bounce starts — but that’s not because the Senate passed FinRef. That didn’t happen until July 15. So … what’s the bounce for?

Or, a better question: In light of the graph below, does it really matter?

Makes no sense. Even if it’s true that indies are responsible for most of the Dems’ bounce, if this really is a reaction to financial reform passing, you should see a sharp spike in Democratic enthusiasm too. Instead, flat. Meanwhile, in the span of one polling cycle, GOP enthusiasm is up double digits and approaching post-ObamaCare levels. Is FinRef that unpopular on our side of the aisle? I’m tempted to throw the whole poll out as an outlier, especially since Rasmussen’s latest generic-ballot poll actually detected a small gain for the GOP. (And yes, I’m aware of the Rasmussen “house effect” in generic-ballot polling. Even so, if there really is a Dem bounce out there, it should show up to some extent in Ras too.)

Via RCP, here’s Mark Halperin on “Morning Joe” explaining why, per his column today, it is indeed panic time for Democrats. And maybe not just in House and Senate races either. Yowza.

Update: Alternate explanation, one that’s far more ominous for the GOP since it’s bound to recur as an issue: Is this a reaction to Republicans resisting new money for unemployment benefits?

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