Signs of panic are setting in among national Democrats over the special election to replace former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. Today, a survey conducted by the Siena Research Institute found that Republican Bob Turner held a 50 percent to 44 percent lead over Democrat David Weprin, in the heavily Democratic Brooklyn and Queens-area district. “With four days until election day, this race is going down to the wire," says Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. It'd be quite an upset if the Democratic state assemblyman lost to Turner, a former TV executive, in this district. Here are the signs Democrats are worried ahead of Tuesday's election:
They're hurling money at the race, notes Alex Isenstadt at Politico, who says national Democrats are growing "increasingly nervous" about Weprin's precarious prospects. "On Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced it was pouring $500,000 on the New York City airwaves for Weprin. The Democratic-boosting House Majority PAC is also running ads in the race’s final days."
Turner is getting "scrappy," "underdog appeal," writes Dave Weigel at Slate:
We're deep into the part of the campaign where every Weprin move is looked at for awkwardness and stumbles, and every Turner move is looked at for cleverness.
The latest example: The DCCC pulled the trigger on an ad showing a plane zooming around Manhattan, to make the point that Turner is a rich jerk who likes tax loopholes. The ad-makers are guilty of laziness -- who's being swayed by the "private jets" line, really? -- and some bad taste, because who sees that image on the weekend of 9/11 and doesn't think of 9/11?
So they quickly fixed the ad, leaving it up to snarky political reporters (Hi!) to point out the flub.
Turner is using the Israel issue effectively, writes Nancy Scola at The Atlantic, reporting from Brooklyn. She says Turner is "painting Weprin as someone who shares Obama's stand on Israel, particularly his support for returning the country to its pre-1967 borders. The 9th has a large and vocal Jewish population, and Obama's allegedly confused record on Israel is being tied to his equally adrift economic stewardship." She also got a telling quote from a constitutent in the district:
"If you vote for Weprin," said Michael Greene, 70, outside the supermarket, where shoppers stocked up pre-Sabbath, "you're telling Obama that you support dividing our tiny state into two sides: one terrorist, and one side that has to defend itself day and night. A vote for Weprin is a vote for that man."
The economy is hurting Weprin, notes Weigel, also citing Obama's approval rating. "Barack Obama's approval rating is 43 percent in the poll, against a 54 percent disapproval rating. So if they lose Democrats are going to struggle to explain how the election was a fluke, and not evidence that Barack Obama's new jobs push is doomed... If Weprin goes down, the main reasons will be the unpopularity of the president and the weakness of his own campaign."