Couple this with Hoffman’s maybe-yes-maybe-no lead in NY-23 and you’ve got the makings of a conservative thunderbolt next week, which would be spectacular in how it might affect the health-care debate. Christie doesn’t even have to win his race to throw a scare into the Blue Dogs; the fact that he’s ahead this late in a deep blue state despite his own less-than-scintillating appeal should be enough. Combine that with the realization that Virginia, last year’s biggest bellwether, is not only about to go red but red with a vengeance and ObamaCare fencesitters in Congress should have a lot to think about over Thanksgiving break. Here’s Chris Cillizza, putting two and two together in comparing Bob McDonnell’s blowout lead with new data showing 53 percent opposition in Virginia to the current health-care proposals:
Data points like this one suggest two important things in regards the 2010 midterms.
First, the American people — or at least likely voters in the swing state of Virginia — are not yet sold on the necessity or efficacy of the legislation. That’s especially true of politically critical independents as just 36 percent of them support the proposed changes to the health care system.
Second, among those who oppose it, that position is strongly held while among those who support it there is far less intensity. Nearly eight in ten (79 percent) of self-identified Republicans in the poll strongly oppose the proposed changes while 60 percent of self identified Democrats strongly support them. Those numbers suggest the sort of disparity between party base energy that could have a real impact on the races next November, which, if history is any guide, will be far lower turnout affairs than the 2008 presidential contest.
I’m mildly surprised that Palin didn’t play up the “kill ObamaCare” angle in endorsing McDonnell and Christie today. Without the sort of big-picture national angle from which Doug Hoffman’s benefiting, Mc and C probably can’t expect much in terms of nationwide grassroots donations. Frame their races as referendums on health care, though, and that’ll change in a hurry. Exit question: If all three win, is the public option finished?