DENVER — In Washington, DC, the conventional wisdom has long held that the Republican’s House majority isn’t going to be in play until 2022, after the next round of redistricting takes place.
But that conventional wisdom is being reconsidered, as a partial government shutdown, engineered by a band of some 80-odd Tea Party Republicans on a crusade to stop Obamacare, enters a second week.
Rep. Mike Coffman isn’t part of that Tea Party wing of the House GOP that’s forced Speaker John Boehner to advance this reckless strategy; but he’s not among the two dozen or so moderate House Republicans willing to criticize the tactics either.
Last Thursday, he told FOX31 Denver that if the GOP’s intransigence in October 2013 costs him his job in November 2014, that’s a price he’s willing to pay.
“Whatever the consequences of doing what’s right in leadership are, I’m willing to take those consequences,” Coffman said.
On Monday, new poll numbers underline the real possibility that Coffman could pay that price.
A separate poll released Monday evening by the Washington Post and ABC News shows national disapproval of congressional Republicans spiking to 70 percent, with 51 percent approving strongly.
According to the other survey from Public Policy Polling, which examined 24 House races over the weekend, 47 percent of Coffman’s constituents disapprove of his job performance while 41 percent approve.
When asked if they’d vote for Coffman or a generic Democratic candidate next year (Andrew Romanoff is challenging Coffman but wasn’t named by the polling outfit), Coffman is losing by a margin of 49-41 percent.
And 62 percent of those polled “oppose Congress shutting down major activities of the federal government as a way to stop the health care law from being put into place”, when that question was posed.
So, not surprisingly, Coffman’s margin against a generic Democrat drops further to 51-41 percent when respondents were asked again: “Now that you know Congressman Coffman supported the government shutdown, [sic] If the election for Congress were held today, would you vote for re-elect Republican Michael Coffman, or would you vote for his Democratic opponent?”
The liberal group, MoveOn.org, paid for the 24 polls, 17 of which showed Republican congressmen falling behind in match-ups against generic Democrats next year.
Democrats need to gain 17 seats in the 2014 midterms to win back a majority in the House.
Many of the Republicans polled by PPP, however, don’t have serious opponents (Coffman’s doesn’t fall into that group); and many observers, including Roll Call’s Stuart Rothenberg, recognize that the polls are more of an effort to pressure Republicans in the short term than a true gauge of next year’s election.
“Every nonpartisan polling expert thinks this latest Democrat survey is a joke that’s wildly off the mark,” said Tyler Q. Houlton, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“The fact is Andrew Romanoff would have sided with Washington Democrats and voted to shut down the government if given the chance, all in defense of Obama’s failed health care law and reckless spending habits.”