The Note: Republicans as Democrats

When asked to compare this year to 1994, Stephanopoulos cautioned that Republicans were far better prepared in protecting themselves all year long than the Democrats were in 1994, but that "in some ways the wave is even bigger" than 1994.

ABC polling director Gary Langer writes: "It's two weeks away, and the 2006 midterm elections look like a referendum on Iraq, a war in which President Bush and his party have lost not just the political center but significant chunks of their base." LINK

With exactly two weeks to go before the midterm elections, the Democrats have pulled a 2 to 1 advantage over Republicans among independents according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, report the Washington Post's Dan Balz and Jon Cohen. Those who say the Iraq war is the most important issue in determining their vote favor Democrats 76 percent to 21 percent. LINK

With voters focused on national issues, Chairman Reynolds' "all politics is local" strategy may be in jeopardy, report USA Today's Susan Page and Jill Lawrence. LINK

According to a USA Today/Gallup Poll, "43% of likely voters say national issues will make the biggest difference in their vote; 24% say local or state issues. That's the first overwhelming edge for national issues since the question was first asked in a Times Mirror poll in 1994."

"A cascade of Republican misfortunes, including a string of ethics scandals and escalating violence in Iraq, has set the stage for a Democratic resurgence. Only an event as dramatic as the capture of Osama bin Laden or a terrorist attack could reverse the trend toward Democrats, analysts say."

The Way to Win:

Keep up with the authors of The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008 all day today, as Mark Halperin of ABC News and John F. Harris of the Washington Post continue their book tour bonanza today:

The Diane Rehm Show

10 am ET

LINK

The O'Reilly Factor

9 pm ET

LINK

The Hugh Hewitt Show

Check local listings here. LINK

Or, cut out the electronic middleman and buy your copy of the ultimate guide to 2008 here. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

"A major effort to draw Latinos and blacks into the Republican Party, a central element of the GOP plan to build a long-lasting majority, is in danger of collapse amid anger over the immigration debate and claims that Republican leaders have not delivered on promises to direct more money to church-based social services," writes Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times in an important must read. LINK

In analyzing the Bush Administration's about face on its Iraq rhetoric, Peter Baker of the Washington Post writes that the White House is "cutting and running" from "stay the course." Baker also Notes that Republican strategists are glad to see "stay the course" dropped because it's not conveying what Republicans want it to convey and Democrats have been able to capitalize. LINK

Jeremy Wallace of the Herald Tribune reports that President Bush will be in the Sunshine State for the 44th time since he won the 2000 election. LINK

2006: "This Time, It's Not the Economy":

" . . . Republican candidates do not seem to be getting any traction from the glowing economic statistics with midterm elections just two weeks away," writes the New York Times' Eduardo Porter in a must-read examination of the very strong economic news seemingly unable to filter down into individual races as an electoral motivator. LINK

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